Help me actually achieve a good chicken stock
March 14, 2014 3:48 PM   Subscribe

How can I actually make a good soup/general use stock? I feel like I've tried a whole bunch of different recipes and none have ever been better than Swanson's from a box. Seriously I've made it 15+ different times, both chicken and veal. I'm pretty handy in the kitchen and can do most everything else, but not this, help me!

In part inspired by this question, I finally decided to ask something that i've been meaning to for a long time. I've tried a number of different recipes, from Ruhlman's veal stock a couple of times to my mom's chicken stock to a number of random ones collected from the internet. It's only ever tasted watery, and never as good as say the stuff that I can buy from Swanson's.

A number of chef writers I love and respect come down pretty hard on store bought, and I get it, certainly there's some bad broth out there. That being said they always talk about how easy it is to make your own and how much better it tastes etc. Well this has never happened to me. I've roasted and not roasted, added a whole bunch of different aromatics etc. What are your tried and true recipes? I apparently am remedial here and would love to actually fix it.

I'm mainly interested in chicken, but am definitely not opposed to help on the veal side either
posted by Carillon to Food & Drink (38 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
If watery taste is your problem, you're almost certainly not cooking it long enough for it to reduce and really take on the flavors of the bones/aromatics.
posted by ronofthedead at 3:58 PM on March 14, 2014 [6 favorites]

When I make stock, the whole process takes around 4 hours. I first add a roasted carcass and raw chicken wings (for extra collagen and flavor) in a large pot of water. I also add onions (cut in half), peeled garlic and black peppercorns. Then I let it sit, uncovered at a strong simmer/low boil for about 2-3 hours. Then I add chopped carrots and celery and maybe parsley if I have it around. Simmer for another hour. Remove everything from the stock, use an eggwhite raft to pull out the cloudy/mucky bits, then add lots of salt. By the time I'm done, at least 1/3-1/2 of the original water has boiled off. In my experience, watery stock has either not been boiled long enough to concentrate flavor or doesn't have enough salt. I know some people also add unflavored gelatin for a silkier mouthfeel, but I haven't made that a usual practice.
posted by quince at 4:00 PM on March 14, 2014

Foolproof: start with a roasted chicken. Take off almost all the meat (leave the wings on). Toss it in a pot with other stuff, like onion, celery, carrot, salt, maybe thyme, whatever you've got, and water to cover. Bring to a boil then simmer, minimum four hours. Ideally all day. Drain it, reserving the stock and tossing everything else into the trash. Let it cool a bit then put it in the fridge overnight. Next morning, skim most of the fat off the top. Voila -- stock. If you want to make soup: back onto the heat and toss in sliced carrots, celery…if you want mushrooms, sautee them first…leeks? Potato? Whatever else you want. Finish with a nice amount of fresh lemon juice and a bit of dill. Plus the shredded chicken you pulled off the carcas yesterday. Your kid will eat eight bowls of it and skip the pizza, like mine did last night.
posted by BlahLaLa at 4:09 PM on March 14, 2014 [8 favorites]

I make stock about 2-3x a month, and use it in everything. I really do not like the overly salty/chemically taste of store bought chicken stock (even the organic ones), so I make my own every other month or so. I swear by using chicken backs- so cheap, and add so much flavor. they look gross, but it's totally worth it.

I usually start with about 1/3rd of a stockpot of bones/chicken backs/chicken thighs. I start by getting the pot nice and hot, chuck in the bones/chicken, sear those a bit, until fat starts to render, and then fry chopped onions and garlic in the chicken fat (heavier on the onions). once the onions start smelling amazing, I top off the pot with water, dump in odds and ends of carrots/celery/herbs, a few bayleaves (I go for 3-4) and then some whole peppercorns. I don't salt until the end, mostly because I'm never sure what I will use the stock for, and too salty stock is terrible.

This will simmer for 3-4hrs, (or until the whole apartment smells amazing). When cool, the stock should be slightly gelled, and glops into a pot instead of evenly pours.

You might just not be using enough chicken/chicken bones/meat bones or not cooking long enough. If using whole chicken carcasses, I like to use 2-3 per pot of stock (so we have a chicken graveyard in my freezer). I also like to go heavy on carrots (like 3-4 per pot), since they add a bit of sweetness.
posted by larthegreat at 4:13 PM on March 14, 2014 [3 favorites]

Reserve the fat
posted by maggieb at 4:15 PM on March 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Don't try random recipes any more. There are just way too many that are basically "chuck whatever you have in a pot, it'll be great," and obviously you've come to discover that that's not giving you the result you want. Try a properly tested recipe like Cook's Illustrated's, which doesn't start with a cooked carcass at all—it avoids necks/backs (because they make the stock liver-y) and instead uses piles and piles of chicken wings, for a better percentage of chickeny flavor and collagen.
posted by bcwinters at 4:16 PM on March 14, 2014 [10 favorites]

The best chicken stock, and I will fight anyone who tries to tell me that no, theirs is the best, requires a pressure cooker.

Place one chicken (that's one whole chicken) in the pressure cooker. Cover with water. Add a head of garlic; don't bother to peel it.

Cook in the pressure cooker for 45 minutes to an hour. Defat in an awesome fat separator.

That is the best chicken stock.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:19 PM on March 14, 2014 [3 favorites]

Are you judging the flavor of the stock on its own straight out of the pot, or do you also prefer the taste of the store-bought stock in recipes (soup, etc?) I do add a small amount of salt when I make stock--enough to make it taste distinctly more flavorful, but not actually enough to make it pleasant to eat on its own. This is, as larthegreat alludes to, because adding too much salt means you run the risk of having food turn out too salty if you're planning to use the stock in other recipes where it'll reduce. I do sometimes just microwave a mug of plain stock, but I always have to add more salt and pepper to make it actually taste good enough to eat on its own.
posted by kagredon at 4:19 PM on March 14, 2014

(And to clarify, you cook it for 45-60 minutes after the pot comes up to pressure, which is when the thingamajig starts jiggling -- which can take 15-20 minutes, depending.)
posted by mudpuppie at 4:20 PM on March 14, 2014

You might just not be using enough chicken/chicken bones/meat bones or not cooking long enough.

That would be my guess. FWIW, when I make stock, my rule of thumb is three cups of water per pound of chicken parts, i.e. a good sized whole chicken yields less than a gallon of stock, and I leave it simmer for hours.

I don't have a recipe, I have a loose method. I film a heavy pot with a little oil and put it on the heat. I saute some chopped onion, carrot and celery. When the veggies soften I add the chicken and three cups of water per pound of chicken, turn up the heat and bring to a boil. As it begins to boil, I skim off the scum that rises to the surface. When the scum stops appearing I put a lid on it and shove the pot back onto the smallest burner, at the lowest setting, and forget about it for several hours during which time the entire house comes to smell like chicken soup. Eventually I turn off the heat and let it cool a bit before lifting out the bones and straining the stock. After it cools further, the stock goes into the fridge. Sometime the next day I take it out of the fridge. It will be a pot of chicken-flavored Jello with a disc of yellow fat on top. I lift off the chunks of fat and discard them, then divide the stock into random plastic containers that I use as freezer molds. When frozen, I momentarily run warm water over the bottoms of the containers, pop out the stockcicles and store them in the freezer in big Ziploc bags.
posted by jon1270 at 4:30 PM on March 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

i.e. a good sized whole chicken yields less than a gallon of stock...

To clarify, I don't actually use whole chickens for this. I use whatever inexpensive / leftover chicken parts I have or have access to.
posted by jon1270 at 4:31 PM on March 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yes to pressure cooker. And nice ones are worth it. Modernist Cuisine's pressure cooker stock got me set on the road to really amazing soups, sauces, and risottos.

Also, salt. Maybe a quarter teaspoon per quart when cooking, and then to taste when it's done.

If I'm feeling cheap, I use 4 or so chicken backs (store-bought carcasses at like $.50/lb) for 2 quarts of finished stock, plus roughly chopped onions, carrots, and celery in 2:1:1 mirepoix ratio. 2 bay leaves, 1/2 tsp or so of peppercorns. (If not cheap, chicken wings.) A few chicken feet will help with body. If you're not roasting the chicken first, you must blanch it (bring just to a boil) and discard the first boil of water.
posted by supercres at 4:35 PM on March 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you're tasting right after cooking, it's not going to taste like ready-made. And it certainly won't be as salty as ready-made, which is pretty much true for all homemade versions of anything packaged. But let it gel, and then when you use it, add some more salt. A little more. No, more than that.
posted by Ideefixe at 4:36 PM on March 14, 2014

A good/bad sign: If it hasn't gelled after refrigeration, something is wrong.

I strain it from the pressure cooker into a large stainless mixing bowl in a salted ice bath. Only takes about 10 minutes to get refrigerator-cool and can go straight into quart freezer bags for long-term storage. (Or freeze into blocks for vacuum-bagging, or with a chamber vacuum without freezing first.)
posted by supercres at 4:38 PM on March 14, 2014 [4 favorites]

Last thing: quarter teaspoon of Marmite, an anchovy filet or two, OR a half-teaspoon of soy sauce. Chicken stock needs just a little help with umami IME.

For beef stock, roasted soup bones. (I've never made veal.) If you are dying to eat the marrow out of them, they'll make a damn fine stock. No extra umami needed, but everything else roughly the same.
posted by supercres at 4:44 PM on March 14, 2014

no one's ever complained about my chicken soup.

My only secret is I let the bones etc simmer (ie: the lowest heat bubbling I can achieve) for as long as possible (minimum three or four hours, as much as six), adding more water as required. I learned this from my brother-in-law, who's a chef.

Otherwise, I break every rule going, throw whatever in ... and like I say, no complaints.

Which doesn't mean that there isn't some spicing required once you get to the actual soup, but that's got nothing to do with creating the actual stock.
posted by philip-random at 6:03 PM on March 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

If it's coming out watery, there are three possible problems:

1) You're tasting a liquid that is totally unseasoned, so it's going to taste watery

2) You're not using enough bones

3) You're not simmering for long enough.

I always make my chicken stock with roasted bones; I'll change the depth of roasting (from golden to mahogany) depending on the final product it's ending up in; the darker you roast the bones, the greater your depth of flavour will be. I honestly can't think of a recipe, I just make it by eye really. Your mirepoix should be 2:1:1 onion:celery:carrot. You can roast the mirepoix as well, for more depth of flavour. Fennel can be nice in a chicken stock too, and if you want to make absolutely orgasmic chicken soup, make stock. Cool, remove (and save!!!!!!) the fat. Put in a pot, add a capon and a rough-chopped head of fennel. Then simmer again for 4-6 hours. Strain, season, and enjoy.

I don't use necks usually, but I do use backs and wings. Lots of. Whatever size pot you're using, you basically want it 2/3-3/4 full of your bones and mirepoix. Cover with water (hot or cold doesn't actually matter unless clarity of the final product is important to you--if so, start with cold), bring up to the boil, reduce to a low simmer for 4-6 hours. Skim off the protein scum that accumulates on top. A standard restaurant trick is to actually move the pot a couple inches off the burner. The heat differential helps the scum accumulate in one spot, making it easier to get rid of.

If your stock, as said above, is not setting to the consistency of loose Jello (or harder, if you've reduced it), you are definitely not using enough collagen-laden bones (collagen breaks down into gelatine with heat).

After that, all stocks are basically the same, though it's standard with beef stock to roast the bones pretty dark. Veal you can go either way. Duck stock is particularly delicious, by the way. Beef stock usually goes for 8-12 hours in the pot.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:05 PM on March 14, 2014

Break up the chicken carcass, crack open the bones, and throw everything into a stock pot. Add a glug of oil. Heat it up on medium and stir every so often until everything's browned. Add water to cover, plus whatever seasoning you want. Simmer for an hour or so and strain.
posted by dogrose at 6:07 PM on March 14, 2014

I never liked mine (roasted chicken parts + mirepoix + long uncovered simmer) till I started adding 1/4 c of white wine to it.
posted by xo at 6:44 PM on March 14, 2014

Nthing time, and lots of carcass/crappy parts. And an onion, ideally cut in half. And tomato (only one, but the acid does something). And salt. Oh, and celery (just one stick, or the little shreddy bits in the center). I don't salt or season until after it's sieved and finished. It shouldn't taste like soup right away.

But mostly, time. I just let it sit on the back of the stove at the very lowest heat possible for the whole bloody day. It should turn into a gelatinous glutenous mass when cooled.
posted by jrochest at 6:54 PM on March 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Nthing the pressure cooker - I would have just favorited, but I want to emphasize that I'm a low patience guy, and I never made good chicken stock until I bought one. It is so delicious and unctuous and tastes sinful but it's not because that's gelatin, not fat!
posted by ftm at 7:38 PM on March 14, 2014

No, don't put salt in stock you plan on using for things other than just soup. It makes making those dishes a lot more difficult to balance the seasoning for.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:56 PM on March 14, 2014

I used to use a slow cooker to make mine, which I thought was a good way to go. But I read a blog somewhere where they tried the 3 main methods: long simmer on the range, pressure cooker, and slow cooker. Pressure cooker came in first, then the long simmer, and last was the slow cooker.

I'm just n'thing the pressure cooker approach.

There's also a difference between stock and broth. Stock is generally without much spices/etc and isn't particularly tasty by itself. Its meant to be that way so that it can be used in different ways. It sorta sounds like you are making simple stock and then unhappy that it isn't a tasty broth.

I'd also add that you might not be adding enough salt. The store-bought makes up a lot of their broth-flavor with a ton of salt; even the low-salt versions. You don't need anywhere near that much to match and out-do their taste. Or shouldn't anyway, especially if you follow the advice of the others above.
posted by herox at 8:04 PM on March 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you don't want to fork out for a pressure cooker, add more chicken. One little chicken carcass in a huge pot of water is going to give you watery stock. you want the chicken & whatever veg you choose jammed down in there, using precut into pieces chicken is easier as it will fit in the pot more. You want lots of cartilage, my dad used to throw a pigs trotter in every time he made stock for the cartilage alone.

I prefer starting from raw with cold water, but have made pretty good stock with cooked carcass, the main problem with using pre cooked is that it's hard to have enough bones unless you save them all in your freezer first. Make sure any bones have some meat left on them. Throw in a few whole wings or a thigh or two if not.

Now cook low and slow on a stove top, let the liquid reduce a little, but keep the bones covered. You will know it's cooked enough when most of the cartilage is pretty much started to dissolve away, all the bones should just jumble into a heap in the bottom of the pot when you poke it. Pressure cooking speeds this up, but you can get pretty close flavour wise on a stove top, low & slow. Strain and remove any solids & when cool put it in the fridge overnight. The fat will rise to the top to be easily removed and the liquid should set up in a nice jelly, or you'd just like a more concentrated flavour remove the fat and put the pot back on the stove to reduce.

If you'd like your stock saltier throw in a few celery stalks at the beginning, I usually throw in some carrots & onions for added flavour too.

If you are cooking too meaty pieces you'll be getting broth instead of stock, broth is more watery tasting, cartilage & time is the key.
posted by wwax at 9:44 PM on March 14, 2014

I don't think you can make a good soup or stock with a supermarket chicken. Also, better restaurants regularly make large pots of stock from the huge amount of meat and poultry scraps that pile up in the kitchen. Then they clear the stock using a "protein mat" made from ground meat and egg whites. That is difficult to replicate at home.

I don't know where you are located, but if you can find a good butcher or perhaps a specialty poultry shop (in New York you can still buy your chicken alive in Chinatown) and buy chicken parts that are specifically good for soup and stock. And by this I mean chicken feet (clip off the claws and cut out the middle sole pad) necks, wing tips, and chicken backs. I live in Budapest, and we are lucky because we can shop in an open market where there are about five butchers specializing in poultry. We can often find chickens sold with their feet and heads ready to boil. And fully grown hens for stewing: tough older birds that we boil for hours. Also: chickens fed on corn or free range taste better than factory birds and their skin and fat have a better yellow color.
posted by zaelic at 1:22 AM on March 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: So it sounds like it's hard to know when the stock will be done from taste alone and I need to use other indicators to know when to take it off, not just some arbitrary amount of time.

Is it better to roast the chicken bones first/use the bones from a cooked chicken or is it better to use raw? Also all those suggestion pressure cookers, don't those have a tendency to be a bit dangerous? The only thing I've heard about them isn't exactly positive.
posted by Carillon at 2:22 AM on March 15, 2014

I save my cooked chicken bones and veggie scraps in a bag in the freezer. Veggie scraps might include celery innards, parsley stems, onions, carrots, jalapeño, mushroom stems. When I have a bag full, I dump the whole thing in the slow cooker. I throw in 4 or 5 cloves of garlic, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, I'm guessing a quart and a half or so of water, and a bay leaf. Sometimes a splash or two of fish sauce if I remember. I let it cook on low for about 24 hours. I don't know if it's a stock or broth but I do know it's tasty... straight, as a base for other recipes, or a liquid for sautéing.
posted by ms_rasclark at 7:57 AM on March 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have recently bought a pressure cooker, and it is life-changing. Nowadays, there is no danger, the technology is vastly improved. I am allergic to MSG, so I have to make my own stock.

I always make a stock of the bones and scraps when we've had roast chicken. I chop up the bones and scraps, and then I add a carrot, an onion, a leek, and a celery stalk. I also add a bay leaf and thyme, and maybe some parsley or just stalks from parsley. And 2-4 whole peppercorns. I put in all in the pressure cooker with 1-1 1/2 liters of water, and bring to pressure, then cook at high pressure for 45 mins.
Depending on what I am going to use it for, I either just pour it through a sieve, and it's ready to use, or pour it through a sieve, and then I whip an egg-white or two till it stands, and then whip this into the stock, then I reduce the mixture for another 45 minutes before running it through a cloth thus obtaining a very clear, pure stock for freezing or whatever.
No salt, I add that when using the stock, but usually, there is some salt in the bones already, from the roasting process, so it tastes quite nice already.

Recently, I boiled a whole chicken in the cooker to use for a salad. I covered it with water, added peppercorns, bay leaf and salt to taste. When the chicken was ready after 25 minutes at pressure, I took it out, took all the meat of the bones, and put the bones, skin and scraps back in the cooker, now with the usual aromatics, and cooked the whole thing under pressure for another 30 minutes. The stock that came out of this was amazing.
posted by mumimor at 8:13 AM on March 15, 2014

bcwinters: Try a properly tested recipe like Cook's Illustrated's, which doesn't start with a cooked carcass at all—it avoids necks/backs (because they make the stock liver-y).

I use their recipe all the time, but I don't see that. Is it a recent change? Also if you're using the Cook's Illustrated recipe (which I'm going to be doing as soon as I post this because I bought a new cleaver today!), you're going to have to do a lot of defatting to get a clear-ish stock. I may try making a raft this time....
posted by digitalprimate at 8:23 AM on March 15, 2014

I usually leave the bones in cold water with a splash of apple cider vineger for about an hour beforehand. It's supposed to help release more minerals.
I haven't tried it yet, but I heard chicken feet make spectacular broth. It's super cheap, but not easy to find.

Raw vs cooked is a matter of personal preference. Cooked should give you more flavor. Why? Please look up Maillard reaction, for real, it's important.
I can go either way for chicken stock, but only use roasted bones for beef broth.
I gently simmer chicken bones for at least 8 hours. Beef bone broth goes on for days at my house.

If all else fails, you might just be missing the MSG, which can be disguised on the label as 'hydrolyzed ___ protein'.
posted by Neekee at 9:14 AM on March 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Almost forgot, my secret ingredient in any stock: a knob of ginger! Makes the stock/broth clear and they just don't taste right without it.
posted by Neekee at 9:17 AM on March 15, 2014

Last thing, I swear, I used to love love love pressure cookers! Until mine malfunctioned and sprayed black bean juice all over the kitchen. Luckily I'd left the kitchen a mere 2 seconds beforehand.
My mom's used them her whole life, never had an issue. Luck? IDK.
posted by Neekee at 9:24 AM on March 15, 2014

Not much new here, mainly just adding my voice to the group saying more bones, more time.

I like to roast a chicken nearly every week, so I save up a bunch of carcasses in the freezer until I have enough to loosely fill a big stock pot 3/4 full or more. Then I use just enough (cold) water to cover the bones. (I hadn't heard of adding a tomato or cider vinegar, but I may try that next time.)

Bring it up to almost a boil then keep it at a gentle simmer for hours - the rule I learned is at least 3 hours for chicken, 5 hours for pork, 7 hours for beef or veal - skimming the top now and then as needed.

Then add whatever vegetables and seasoning you want to use, and simmer for another hour before straining. This leaves me with a very thick rich stock that turns Jello-like and wobbly when refrigerated. I actually have to add water to thin it if I want to use it for broth or soup.

I tend to make stock in big batches then immediately freeze it in 2- or 4-cup containers, which makes it easy to pull one out and defrost it (or throw the frozen chunk in a pan and turn the heat to medium or medium-high, takes maybe 15 minutes to melt).
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:00 PM on March 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

I use the Cook's Illustrated recipe mentioned above, slightly modified by Smitten Kitchen. It comes out perfectly and it freezes well. I put two cups in several quart-sized Ziplock bags and stack them on a cookie sheet to freeze.

It's delicious, rich and deeply chicken-y and tastes of nothing else. Wait for your store to have chicken wings on sale, and toss it together in a slow cooker before you go to bed. You will be awoken by the smell of the most heavenly chicken soup.

I've reduced it and used it as the base in sauces, and as is in soups, and thrown in wontons or whatever to make it soup on its own.
posted by Kangaroo at 5:22 PM on March 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Then they clear the stock using a "protein mat" made from ground meat and egg whites. That is difficult to replicate at home.

No, sorry. Restaurants that want a clear stock these days will use gelatine filtration mostly; a few more traditional places will use a raft--that's the industry term--of ground meat and egg white to clarify for a consomme. Stock is rarely if ever clarified for use as a building block in sauces and soups.

you're going to have to do a lot of defatting to get a clear-ish stock. I may try making a raft this time....

A raft won't help with fat. The way to deal with fat in a stock is to chill it, and lift the fat off the gelled stock when it's cold.

Raw vs cooked bones doesn't make a huge difference. In a restaurant it might matter, at home it never will.

least 3 hours for chicken, 5 hours for pork, 7 hours for beef or veal - skimming the top now and then as needed.

4-6, 6-8, 8-12, respectively. At one restaurant i worked at, beef stock would go on around 10 or so, and get taken off an hour or two after we got in the next morning--around 8-9.

And veg goes in the stock at the same time as the bones. If you are adding fresh herbs, only in the last 15 minutes or you lose all the delicacy of flavour.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:04 PM on March 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

Older pressure cookers gained a bad reputation, but the ones currently on the market are totally safe.

Last thing, I swear, I used to love love love pressure cookers! Until mine malfunctioned and sprayed black bean juice all over the kitchen. Luckily I'd left the kitchen a mere 2 seconds beforehand.

So, the thing is, this was user error. (Sorry!) The one fundamental rule about pressure cookers is that you have to make sure that the steam vent is clear EVERY TIME YOU USE THE PRESSURE COOKER. If there's any kind of buildup in it, steam can't escape, and you then have a bomb and not a pressure cooker. Beans foam when they're cooking, and the gritty stuff in the foam can get into the steam vent and clog it. So, you need to put a teaspoon of oil in the water before you shut the pressure cooker and put it over heat. The oil reduces the surface tension and prevents that foam from forming, thus ensuring that you don't end up with beans on your ceiling. (Which happened to my mom when I was a kid.)
posted by mudpuppie at 6:36 PM on March 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

And veg goes in the stock at the same time as the bones. If you are adding fresh herbs, only in the last 15 minutes or you lose all the delicacy of flavour.

I am literally making stock now - it was about time anyway, but this thread made me decide to do it NOW! - and I'm going to try this. I thought my stock was pretty kick-ass as it was, so I'm really curious what adding the vegetables in up front (along with a couple splashes of cider vinegar) will do to it. If I don't get back to the thread with my results, it's because I've chosen to drown in mass quantities of golden luscious silky delectable stock!!
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:05 PM on March 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

Follow up: This batch I did with the veggies in at the beginning and the seasonings in at the very end (as opposed to my usual routine of veggies and seasonings in for the last hour) has a slightly different flavor, neither more nor less kick-ass but rather a matter of subtle preference. I do think adding seasonings at the very end (last 15 minutes vs. last hour) did make a little difference in terms of being able to detect separate notes rather than it all being melded into one complex flavor. But my sense is that - for chicken, and not counting pressure cooking - anywhere between 3 and 6 hours of simmering gives pretty much comparable results.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:25 PM on March 16, 2014

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