Monday, February 13, 2017

Chicken Soup for the Kishkes

Like kale (which I can't warm to) and turmeric (I dose myself with it), bone broth is the trending all-healing elixir of life (although there are nay-sayers). Jews and their chicken soup go together like Gene Kelly and dance, so all that's needed is a minor tweak in the preparation. Maybe not so minor. 

Around the time I decided to attempt bone broth, I read this article ("The Golden Bowl") about new and improved chicken soup by Julia Moskin. Cooking soup for hours isn't necessary, she admonishes. Chicken skin is made mostly from collagen, not fat, so don't remove it before. (And I get really excited about collagen! But not so excited to use chicken feet. I'm still scared of those.)

I tried hers first, barely simmering it for exactly 90 minutes. I had used chicken bones and turkey legs; the meat from the legs hadn't quite reached the fallen-off-the-bone tender state that I expect. The soup was quite flavorful (I used only a sprinkle of salt and relied on red pepper flakes and bay leaves), though. 

The next attempt was bone broth. Most recipes involve simmering for at least a day; some grudgingly allow a few hours minimum. Mine went for ten. Not a beef eater, and unwilling to wrangle with so much fleishig-ness, I relied on my go-to, chicken and turkey bones (I find turkey bones has insane taste. "Insane" as in "good.")

So, I chucked into the official chicken soup pot: 

1 package chicken bones
1 package turkey bones
1 HUGE onion (Spanish onions have been gigantic lately)
2 stalks celery 
2 carrots
2 turnips (I like turnips. Would have put in parsnip too, if I had it)
2 bay leaves
generous sprinkle of red pepper flakes
generous sprinkle peppercorns
filtered water to cover
Via Pinterest.
I brought it to a boil, then lowered it down to a simmer, to what Moskin refers to as "smiling" (I don't like using a violent flame). When nastiness came to the surface, I skimmed it off with the discontinued but fabulous Calphalon skimmer. It looks like this:$478$

After a couple of hours, I removed the vegetables with the trusty skimmer before they got too mushy (and ate them all). Alternatively, one can put in vegetables towards the end. Or in the middle. (Another idea to repurpose chicken soup vegetables: Ronnie Fein's Chicken Soup Burgers.)

After almost four hours, I removed, in shifts, the bones and tugged off the meat. Butchers aren't so careful with getting everything off the carcass, and absolute bounty came off. Then the bones went back into the pot. 

The meat I ate too (and put the rest aside for next few days' lunch. Like I said, bounty). If planning to freeze the broth for Shabbos, one could hold on to the meat for when the soup it done and add it back to the containers. 

It continued to percolate; I added another bay leaf at one point. I turned it off after ten hours so I would not have to stay up past my bedtime to pack it away, although I "could have" left it on the flame all night. But I wasn't brave enough for that. Maybe if I used the blech? Hmm, that's an idea. 

While Ma would use cheesecloth, I held the dope skimmer over containers as I ladeled in the broth. All the gunk and little bits of bone remained behind. 

The results? Yummy, nourishing, and hopefully as gut-healing as they claim.
The next time I used chicken bones, turkey wings, and turkey legs, removing the meat after a few hours, then returned those lovely bones back to the stock. 

Even though I worked from two supposedly antithetical premises (cooking soup for short and cooking stock for long), I was able to learn from both how to broth.  

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Nice post! I just can't sit with the idea of all that residual chicken nastiness floating in my pot. I don't like when debris makes it to my bowl of soup. I boil the chicken (leg/thigh combo) and bones (in a mesh cotton bag) for about a half hour in plain water. Then I pour out all the water and wipe the sides of the pot clean with a paper towel. After that I add the vegetables and water and cook for a few hours. No more greasy bowls. And I can't say I love the chickeny flavor of standard chicken soup so that's why this works for me :)