Yoykh (f): Yiddish word meaning broth, most usually referring to chicken broth or chicken soup. “Tsores mit yoykh iz gringer vi tsores on yoykh” (Troubles with soup is easier than troubles without soup)
Sorry vegetarians, but this is another meat-based food post.
This is dedicated to my friend and colleague, Chris, who is expanding his culinary repertoire and wanted some help with the making of stock. The journey of a thousand soups begins with one stock. It’s taken me many years to work on my stock technique. I’ve used every part of the chicken over the years: veal bones, chicken feet, giblets, heart, just carcasses, sometimes roasted, sometimes using the remains of a roast chicken. All have produced different flavoured stocks. If you use a roasted carcass or cooked chicken, then the stock will be a little richer; if you use feet, it will be more gelatine in nature; if you use giblets or heart then it will be stronger. In the past I’ve sweated the mirepoix (the crucial mix of celery, onion and carrot) in olive oil before adding the bones. No more. Now I have developed my own fool-proof method. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 3-4 chicken carcasses. Get the very best quality that you can find – kosher is good, organic is also good.
- 2-3 stalks of celery, or half a small fennel including the fronds. I use fennel because I find celery disgusting.
- 2 carrots
- 2 small brown onions, or 1 large one (keep the skins!)
- 6 peppercorns (optional)
- 1 knob of ginger, peeled and sliced (optional)
Now, first things first. An essential part of making a good stock is removing the scum (the impurities). My way of doing this comprehensively is to do two boils. First, place your bones in the pot, cover with COLD water and bring to the boil. While it comes to the boil, chop your vegetables finely, and keep the onion peel – you will throw this into the stock and it will impart a nice colour.
Once the bones have come to the boil, tip them into the sink, clean the pot, clean the bones, and start again. This time, put all your chopped vegetables into the pot with the carcasses on top. Then fill to the top with water.
Bring to the boil, then turn down to the absolutely lowest point you can. Let it cook for 6 hours. Yes, that’s what I said. 6 hours. Set it and forget it. Here are the pictures at 3 hours and at the end:
Leave to cool. Find yourself a muslin tea-towel, and drape it over a mixing bowl. Pour in the whole mixture, and squeeze away until you have all the liquid in the bowl, and a fairly dry mixture in the muslin. Throw that away. Put the bowl into the fridge for the fat to rise and set.
Next day (or in a few hours) take the bowl out, and with a spoon, carefully remove the fat. Discard it – it’s no good for you. No, don’t use it for shmaltz. It’s NO good for you. Now you have a delicious stock – you should get about 2 litres from this recipe, and it will have cost you about $4 – a lot better than that tetra-pak rubbish they sell in the supermarkets. If you need to adjust for salt, add some salt! Now you can make delicious soups like lokshen yoykh mit zakhn (chicken noodle soup with yummy additions) as seen on the front cover of this post. There is medical evidence to suggest that yoykh may be a better treatment for colds and flu than that stuff you buy over the counter. Don’t believe me? Read this article:
And go make some … winter is coming in Australia, for goodness sake!