I'm reading recipes across the net for how to use some marrow bones I luckily found at my meat counter this weekend. However, most recipes for soup / stock suggest skimming the fat off the broth once its done.
I know it could be reserved for later use (but in my case it will have herbs and veg stuck in it because its from a crockpot stew) but is that absolutely necessary?
I figured the reason is to lower the overall fat content of the broth to be more "healthy" but don't we want to keep the yummy healthy fat?
Skimming stock is usually done to preserve the clarity of the soup (the same principle applies to never bringing stock to a boil and instead letting it barely simmer at a "lazy bubble"). Personally I prefer the more unctuous nature of unskimmed stock, but it's purely a matter of taste or Omega 6 concerns. If you're using marrow bones for stock, you'll still preserve the collagen in the stock even if you skim it, but you'll notice that the stock may have a tendency to gelatinize (just heat it up again and it'll be fine).
Another delicious use for marrow bones:
Soak the bones in cold water for 20 minutes.
Pop out the marrow. Save the bones for future use in stock.
Roast the marrow in the oven at 400F for 10-15 minutes (until golden).
Drop the roasted marrow (and it's accompanying oils) on to your favorite steak or roasted meat.
a lot of funky looking crap rises to the surface when youre making stock. at about hour 12, there is often a thick layer of foam. skim that. its ugly. toss it. clear stock is divine. leave the fat, skim the foam.
when you pour the stock into mason jars or whatever youre using for storage, the fat will congeal at the surface when it cools. its a matter of personal preference as to whether you use it or not. personally, if im storing in the fridge, i leave the fat layer on as a "seal". if im freezing, i remove the fat to use for cooking and freeze it without the fat.
It's not necessary, per se, but the fat will separate from the stock anyway as it cools. Personally, I let the stock cool in a narrow pitcher. The fat hardens at the top and is easy to remove. I keep the fat, of course, and use it for other applications.
I'll add fat later to a dish that uses the stock, but the stock itself I prefer non-fat. I also don't like to add salt to the stock for the same reason.
I'm pretty sure the recommendations to skim the fat are of a strictly culinary nature. A stock is supposed to be light and not greasy, as it is used in so many other recipes that don't necessarily call for a big glob of fat being dropped in.
I'd say skim it and save it. In the case of chicken stock, you might want to skim and discard it if you are watching your omega 6 intake. But it is entirely up to you.
I don't like fat floating in my soup, because the way soup is eaten, the fat clings to my lips, which is not a sensation I call pleasant. In the past, I've shared it with my dogs, but since onions are really bad for dogs and I don't know how much (if any) of the toxins from onions go into the fat, I'm not sure if it's a good idea. It seems it would be easy enough to strain the fat through a strainer to get out any herb remnants to make it easier to use for cooking.
EDIT: I remembered that with less/no fat, stock will last longer as well, so for those who like to prepare in advance, that's an advantage beyond strictly culinary or personal preference.
I do skim the fat, and use the fat to cook carrots and onions for braises. I can always enhance the taste of sauce by mixing few tablesooms fresh butter or marrow. Already long cooked fat has lost some of the fruity qualities.
Is the fat damaged by cooking it for such a long time, even at a low temperature? I heard a brief discussion on this in a "Balanced Bites" podcast that tried to explain why most recipes for bone broth recommend discarding the fat after opening the jars.
I think Whole 9 suggests that it is ok to consume it if the stock is from grass fed animals and if it is not then to skim and toss it. I believe it is because of omega 6 concerns and that toxins are more apt to be stored in the fat. Makes sense to me. Obviously if you don't like it or watching calories then toss it as well.
I would suggest leaving the fat on top of the gelatinous stock after you have left it in the fridge to cool it until you need to remove it to consume or use the stock. It will act like a barrier/seal to help preserve the stock.
I have a gadget that I invented which removes the fat from the top of soup or stew. It works best when the stew or soup is very hot (just off the boil). I have taken a cup or more of fat off an oxtail stew in a few minutes.