Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Was It Worth It?

After all the effort of making Chicken Stock with chicken feet, I wanted to see if it was really worth all the effort. I decided a simple chicken stock focused soup would really be the litmus test, plus Cooks Illustrated printed a "Soups and Stews" issue that just happened to have a recipe to fit that order. Egg Drop Soup.
I’ve never made egg drop soup and they made it look very easy; soup in 20 minutes. So, away we goooooo…

I started with:

2 quarts chicken stock (I used 1 quart of "gelled" concentrated, chicken feet stock and added 1 quart of water)
1 inch of peeled and smashed fresh ginger
2 scallions, smashed lightly

Place the stock, ginger, and smashed scallions over med/high heat and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes. The ginger and scallions really help build layers of flavor for the broth. This smelled wonderful.

Next, fish out the scallions and ginger.

Add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons of water, and salt to taste. Bring back to a simmer and thicken slightly. Then add 3 more minced scallions.

The cornstarch helps thicken the soup so the egg does not sink to the bottom. At first, I didn’t think I would need a thickener, but as the stock heated and thinned from its "gel" stage, it did need something extra.

Last, you will need 4 beaten eggs. Whisk the broth so that it is moving in a strong circle. Add the eggs in one slow, steady stream so that ribbons of coagulated egg form. Let eggs stand in broth WITHOUT mixing until they are set, about 1 minute, then break up with a fork.

If you add the eggs all at one time, you will end up with one big, eggy blob.

And here is the final result with an egg roll and noodles. This was lunch today. YUMMMY!!

Was it all worth it? For a soup like this, abso-friggin-lutely!

DH said the soup was very rich and smooth, and it did have a wonderful mouthfeel and flavor. He commented that he liked that it wasn't greasy like some egg drop soup orders you get in restaurants.

If I just needed a basic chicken stock for something that would really mask its flavor, like adding to a stuffing recipe or making a cream-based soup, I wouldn't use this chicken feet stock at all; I would use the basic stuff that I regularly make with chicken bones or carcasses.


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