Izzy Eats: The art of raising a gourmand, one bite at a time

Stirring tales of eating, cooking and foraging in my never-ending quest to provide, great-tasting (local and organic whenever possible) EATS for me and my boy(s).

Friday, April 3, 2009

Skimming The Foam: A Fowl Business Part I

But essential to the chicken soup preparation process. Or is it?

This afternoon began Passover preparation (Yes. I am doing my best to prepare in advance). Chicken soup was the first order of business, as I can freeze the broth until next week. I assembled the chicken and vegetables in an enormous stockpot and put them over a medium flame. When they were I the cusp of simmering, I went to retrieve my skimming spoon from the drawer. I wanted to give Izzy a skimming lesson, as all recipes always recommend that one skims the grayish foam that bubbles up to the surface of the soup. I have always wondered what exactly that "foam" was, quickly dismissing the thoughts of dirt and grime so that I could later enjoy it.

When the soup began to simmer, I called Izzy over to witness the foam and I explained to him that one day, when he was old enough to make the soup for me, he would have to remember to skim it off.

His question, "Why do you have to skim the foam from the soup?" My answer? "To keep the broth clear." Was that the only reason I wondered. I kept my thoughts of dirt and grime to myself and I decided to do a brief search and unearthed this fascinating tidbit:

"Though skimming the foam is a classic habit, a must for stocks (improves clarity) and is something purists do, you are not removing 'impurities' but important nutrients and flavour. The foam that rises is a colloidal juice from the meat that you would eat if you cooked it another way. It just looks unappetizing. If you forget, it will disappear back into the soup anyway."


What does unskimmed look like? Does the final soup have bits of gray matter floating on top? What do those bits of "colloidal juice" taste like? I am curious to hear about any soup skimming (or not) experiences..

3 comments:

Carla said...

since I am responsible for the matzoh ball soup next weekend (BF's mother is laid up due to a broken hip) I have also been stock making and reading up on it.... I don't really know what to say about skimming as I don't know if I did it right! but was very surprised when my stock gelled when it was left in the fridge overnight! I thoughmaybe I hadn't removed enough fat but apparently gelled broth is a good thing? any tips for a first timer? (also should I make & boil the matzah balls in advance or just prep them in her kitchen?)

(and I was just about to email you for a dessert idea!)

Izzy's Mama said...

Carla: Sounds like you are doing it right so far. As for the matzoh balls, definitely make them in advance, so much easier that way.
Do you have a good recipe? I am not sure if mine is on my blog but if not will post it. I am making mine today. Also I do have two great dessert posts. One is the coconut macaroons and the other is chocolate-caramel covered matzoh.

Carla said...

I would LOVE a recipe! so far I have been basically just been using the one on the back of the matzoh meal box (1/2 c mix,2 tbsp chicken fat or oil and 2 eggs) I also read that you can add some soda water to make them fluffier and that has worked well(though not very kosher?) - last time I made them I also seperated the white from yolks and beat them to med. peaks and folded in which made them even lighter....

my question is on seasoning? am I allowed to use some herbs? if so what? I love it but it just seems plain (also what about the broth - to strain through a cheese cloth or not?)