Chicken Broth

This is the first in a series of posts covering my exploration of ramen. During my visits to Tokyo, I neglected to properly appreciate the complexity of technique and the numerous variations available on most any block for a few bucks. When I set out to make my own ramen, I discovered so many recipes, all differing in one or two details, but resulting in very different broths. The noodles are more or less a given, and I didn’t find much difference, if any, between my home-made noodles, and the fresh ones that I buy at Tokyo Fish Market in Berkeley. The broth is where it’s at. First step for my ramen broth:

Chicken Broth
5 lbs. chicken drumsticks, I buy one of the packages at Costco for about $10
11 qts. cold water1 T. kosher salt

I put the drumsticks, juice and all, into my 12 Qt. All Clad stock pot, and fill it almost to the top with cold water. Add the salt, give it a good stir, and place it over high heat. It eventually starts to simmer, then eventually begins to boil. I give it another good stir just before it boils, then allow it to come to a full boil for about 2 minutes.

chixbroth1

After the pot has a good boil for a couple of minutes, I reduce the heat to barely a simmer. During the boiling, the dissolved proteins in the water will coagulate and rise to the surface where I can skim them off. They look like foam at first, and eventually they become more solid. I skim the pot to remove the foam, fat, and any chunks that rise to the surface several times during the cooking process, which lasts five hours. It’s important to maintain that bare simmer or you will end up evaporating most of your broth.

chixbroth2

At the end of the cooking process, I put the top on the pot and use it to hold the bones in the pot while I drain the broth through a fine sieve into a smaller pot. If I was paying attention and boiled, simmered and skimmed properly, I will have a clear, amber broth that I will freeze in 6 cup tupperware for use in more ways than I can count. One of those ways is to make Ramen Broth.

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About david@davidgingrass.com

David Gingrass is a food and beverage operations professional with a career spanning more than three decades. His fascination with and love for food, wine and entertaining allows him to view his work as both a vocation and an avocation. Gingrass graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York then cooked in the Bay Area for two years before landing a job at Wolfgang Puck’s original Spago Restaurant in West Hollywood. There he learned to make the signature breads and sausages that he became known for at Postrio and Hawthorne Lane. He was soon promoted to kitchen manager and managed the operational and expense control aspects of Puck’s iconic restaurant for the next four years. Gingrass returned to San Francisco in 1989 when Puck tapped him and his then-wife Anne to open Postrio, Puck’s third restaurant and his first outside of Los Angeles. Postrio opened to rave reviews and soon became the #1 popular Bay Area restaurant in the prestigious Zagat survey. Five and a half years later, the opportunity to open a restaurant of his own presented itself. Hawthorne Lane opened in 1995 and was a San Francisco dining institution for over twelve years, catering to the likes of Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, Mayor Willie Brown, James Carville, President Clinton and First Lady Hilary Clinton. He closed Hawthorne Lane at the end of its fifteen-year lease in 2009 to build a consulting practice for the hospitality industry, sharing his wealth of culinary and operational experiences with new and existing restaurants, assisting them to become successful and profitable.