Yoykhs and Away!

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:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/12/the-science-of-chicken-soup/

And go make some … winter is coming in Australia, for goodness sake!

10 Comments

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10 Responses to Yoykhs and Away!

  1. Jeff Mueller

    Ho, ha, parry, thrust, spin . . .

    Had a lovely dinner party Saturday with two recipes from Claudia Roden’s Food of Spain – roast chicken with apples and grapes, and the chocolate and almond meal cake (a bit different from the Passover cake, with the addition of 150 grams of butterand 4 tablespoons of rum), and your creamed silver beet and stalks gratin.

    And besides, it’s a buck and quarter staff, but I’m not telling him that.

    • joseph

      That dinner party sounds scrumptious, Dr Jeff! I think I might have to go invest in Ms Roden’s Spanish cook book myself.

      • Jeff Mueller

        Senator Tolz, there are many great recipes, and she is a great food writer. Chocolate cake was to die for – and quite possibly of, but worth the price of admission alone.

        She does a have a LOT of pork cookery in the book, with the partial explanation that the conversos and the morescos put pork in everything to prove themselves Christians to the Inquisitors. Blame the Dominicans.

        There’s a nice note about friends in London who would pass on nights when she was cooking pig’s trotters while trying out recipes for the book.

        • joseph

          Hahaha! Yes, excuses excuses. But I do believe that was one of the markings of moresco food – the pig eating was the big proof of bona fide conversion.

  2. Trish

    I like your technique for getting rid of the scum. I’ll try that next time.

    Any advice on a good beef stock. For some reason, I’ve always been too scared to make beef stock (hey, I’m a strange girl!!). But, as the Starks say, Winter is Coming, and I want to feast on French Onion soup and a good homemade beef stock is essential for that.

    Help me Dr Toltz, you are my only hope!!

    • joseph

      Dr Trish: I’ve never had cause to make beef stock … you have thrown down a challenge, and I will respond with some research. Stand by for experimentation. xx

      • Jeff Mueller

        Something with a calf’s foot in it?

        • joseph

          The Bible (aka Stephanie) calls for veal shanks, beef brisket and a pigs trotter! She also bakes the bones along with onions, garlic, carros, leek, smellery, mushrooms and tomatoes. It’s all about darkening the stock, methinks. I might try it out, sans trotter. Hers is a veal rather than beef stock.

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