I love summertime - love being outside, playing with my dogs, working in the garden but most of the time it's so blasted hot here in in the Central Valley (projected 106 this weekend) it's hard to spend a whole lot of time outside, even when you're grilling. It's also really hot indoors for cooking. For that reason, I hold off making a whole lot of soups and stews during the summer.
For me, soup season starts when football starts and football started this week! My team, the Green Bay Packers played their first preseason game last night! (Beat New England 22-11, but hey it's preseason.) YAY!!! It's football season!!! (My husband is off somewhere groaning, I'm sure!) To "kick-off" soup season I wanted to share the starter for all good soup - good stock!
Any good soup starts with a great broth and if you have time to make your own, you'll know what I'm talking about. Here's what I do to make it easy on myself - when I cut & clean veggies, I throw the ends, peels, etc. in a plastic bag, seal them well and freeze them. I do the same thing when I debone a chicken. Figuring if you were going to throw it away, why not freeze it instead. When I have enough (or my freezer is too full) I make stock. Great thing to do on a Sunday afternoon. Takes about 4 hours, so I understand this recipe isn't for everyone, but if you have the time to make your own, you'll be happy you did!
I use a fat separator to remove the layer of fat from the top of the stock after it's done simmering. If you don't have one, you can also refrigerate the stock. After it hardens you can remove the fat that has hardened on the top of the stock with a spoon. I recommend storing it in 4 cup containers (pickle jars work great!) as many recipes call for 4 cups of stock. Then label it and tuck it in the freezer for another day!
The recipe below is for a basic chicken stock. Don't be afraid to mix up the vegetables. Have some asparagus ends? Toss those in, extra parsley - add it to the pot. The different vegetables give the stock different flavor. Experiment and find what you enjoy the most!
- 2 turkey or chicken bones meat picked clean and removed - one turkey or three chicken carcasses
- 3 onions quartered no need to remove the skins
- 4 stalks celery cut into thirds
- 3 carrots cut into thirds
- 1 bunch of parsley
- 1 head of garlic sliced in half
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoon heaping of whole peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons salt or omit if you prefer
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- Gather all the ingredients. Wash the vegetables, scrub them clean no need to peel anything as you will strain it at the end.
- In a large stock pot over medium high heat add, the turkey and/or chicken bones and vegetables. Add water to cover, usually three to four quarts. Cover tightly with a lid and bring it to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer loosely covered for four hours, stir occasionally. You may need to add more water, just keep an eye on it.
- After four hours turn the stove off and allow the pot to cool. Once cooled, strain out the vegetables and bones and discard. I recommend storing the stock in four cup containers (I use pickle jars) and freeze until you’re ready to use.
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Interested in making Vegetable Stock - click here for the recipe.