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..