"When I started cooking 60 years ago, we would make a stock, and then we'd reduce it and reduce it and reduce it," says André Soltner, the revered chef and dean of classic studies at New York's French Culinary Institute. "But stock loses its taste when you cook it that much. Now I do a good chicken stock in about two or three hours." Just as French chefs like Soltner have challenged the stock-making orthodoxy they inherited from Escoffier, young American chefs are asking their own questions about one of cooking's most fundamental tasks. David Chang of New York City's Momofuku empire, for instance, is experimenting with the team at his kitchen laboratory on making stocks from umami-dense ingredients like freeze-dried chicken, seaweed and dried mushrooms. "We're trying to reverse-engineer the flavor of stock," Chang explains. Here, F&W presents several recipes for both traditionalists and mavericks, including a pressure-cooker method from our Test Kitchen's Marcia Kiesel that yields rich broth in just 50 minutes, and a small-batch technique that Soltner uses when he's cooking for just a few people at home.
André Soltner's Small-Batch Chicken Stock
André Soltner spent decades leading the kitchen at the famed Lutèce in Manhattan, where he needed lots of stock to make enough sauce for the hundreds of dishes the restaurant served each week. But when cooking at home for only a few people, he prefers to make small amounts of stock using this shortcut method.
Before roasting a large chicken, cut off any trimmings (such as the wings, feet, tail and neck). Cut the trimmings into pieces and add them to the pan with the bird. When the bird is fully cooked, remove it from the pan and let it rest. Discard any excess fat or oil in the pan, then add some chopped carrot, celery, onion and garlic to the roasted trimmings, and continue to cook until the vegetables are browned, about 10 minutes. Add a splash of white or red wine and enough water to just cover the vegetables and meat trimmings. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the jus is slightly reduced and flavorful, about 15 minutes. Strain. The jus can then be used to make a quick sauce for the chicken by stirring in a small amount of butter and herbs.