So, I've been making chicken stock/bone broth for over four years, very regularly (as in, at least twice a month, maybe once a month in the summer). I have never had that elusive gel that everyone talks about that speaks to awesome quantities of gelatin. Imagine my surprise this morning when I went into my fridge to scoop out some onto my lunch of chicken and cauliflower pilaf, and it's totally gelatinous! So, my question is this, paleo-hacking-chefs: how did I pull this off?
Over the years, I've done the crockpot method and the stovetop (Le Creuset) method. I don't use the crockpot method any more. I always use a carcass, some skin, and some meat from a roast chicken dinner. I always include celery, red onion, and carrots, as well as a splash of acid, usually ACV, occasionally lemon. I've rinsed the carcass in the past, but usually I don't. The only things I can think of that I did differently last night:
I haven't strained it yet--carcass and veggies are still in there.
What can I do to recreate this miraculous event next time I make it?
I am guessing that you got a more concentrated stock because you added less water? Another possibility is that you had more bones than usual? Or you just got lucky?
But will add that a few chicken feet & cooking longer (I do 14 hours in the crockpot) might get your stock to gel every time, since mine does and otherwise my recipe is close to yours: onion, carrot, leftover bones, usually half an uncooked chicken back, a few chicken feet, some peppercorns. I skip the vinegar. My crockpot is loosely full to the top w/ bones & veggies before I add water, so it takes a couple chicken dinners to get enough bones.
Longer time extracts more gelatin, so the shorter time should have not helped. Dilution seems to be a problem. If you start with more water, you should be able to extract more collagen, and as it concentrates, you end up with a more-gelling concoction. Adding water after extraction will only dilute your results. I always let it cool in the pot (a couple hours sitting on the stove), then filter and refrigerate. Probably not wonderful food safety principles, but mine always gels. And by always, I mean I'm 5 for 5 with chicken stock and 2 for 2 with pork stock, so I don't have a ton of experience.
I use crockpot and I add chicken heads and feet. It gels nicely every time, even though I don't add lemon. I keep my crock pot running for 12 hours.
Since I use crock pot, I NEVER add more water later on. Water does not evaporate that much from crock pot (even though I keep it on high).
I think all of the above are possible - check out this link. I would suspect you are using too much heat and that is why it worked when you had a shorter time instead of a longer one.
I have heard that you don't want too much heat, but at the same time you don't want it to take too long to come to a boil either. If you can't get it any less hot on the stove try getting it going on the stove then simmering it in the oven the rest of the time. The theory is that the oven provides all over consistent heat instead of producing a cycle of getting very hot on the bottom - stuff rises - cools off - sinks - gets hot again (that is also a trick to stews/soups that won't thicken).
Add collagen-rich bones (e.g. beef feet, chicken feet, knuckle bones) to the pot. I never ever fail to get gelatenous broth when I do that.
Check out this article and associated videos from this woman who got gelatenous broth for 12 batches of bone broth (using the same bones.) They were beef feet.
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