Is there an easy way to clarify homemade chicken or beef stock? I like to make my own basic soup stock for homemade soups, but it always comes out looking like dirty dishwater. —P.T., Lewiston, Idaho
Gray-looking stock is not very appealing. The good news is that there are a number of steps you can take to achieve a clearer chicken or beef stock. First, avoid choosing starchy vegetables, like potatoes, which will cloud and thicken the stock. Next, cover meat/bones and vegetables with cold water. Slowly bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the temperature and simmer for 2 hours. Continuing to boil the stock can draw out impurities from the bones that will cloud the stock. And remember to skim off the foam that rises to the surface of the stock as it cooks. Skim the foam frequently during the first 30 minutes, then as needed thereafter. When your stock has finished cooking, strain it through a colander lined with two layers of cheesecloth, reserving the liquid in a clean pan or bowl. It's best not to press the meat and vegetables as you're straining the mixture since this can also cloud the stock. Hope this clarifies matters!