Sunday, January 31, 2010

Homemade Soup Stock

Both Master and I enjoy soup, especially in the winter months. Generally, I make a big pot and we eat on it for two or three nights with some homemade bread. As much as we like soup, we obviously go through a lot of stock / broth. I searched everywhere for something we liked. Neither one of us found a bouillon all that good, just salty. Chicken and Beef base was ok but it was hard in our small town to find one that wasn't full of MSG. Good organic broth seemed to be the best but also incredibly expensive in the quantity that we go through.

Finally, I started making my own. It isn't all that difficult, its super frugal, and just plain yummy. I start by saving bones from various meals in freezer bags and freezing until I get enough bones to fill an entire stock pot. Save those whole chicken carcasses, whether from a home-roasted or store bought rotisserie chicken. Beef bones from roasts, steaks, the new year prime rib, etc. All that even ones that we might have gnawed on, get frozen (you're going to boil it later anyway).

When I have enough bones to fill a pot, I do so. In the pot also goes a head of garlic, with the top cut off so the cloves show a bit, an onion that has been peeled and quartered, a handful of celery, another handful of carrots, 3 bay leaves and some whole black peppercorns. I let that all simmer away on the stove for about 8 hours - a gentle simmer not a rolling boil. At the end of that 8 hours, strain out all the bones and veggies. Put the strained broth into the fridge and let it sit overnight. In the morning, all of the fat will have congealed on the surface of the broth. I skim that off, and toss it. You could leave the fat if you wanted too or save it for some other purpose (frying, etc.).

At this point your broth is ready to use or store. It stores well in the freezer or if you're not afraid of a pressure-canner, it can be canned for long-term pantry storage. Freeze the broth in quantities you're likely to use it in, 2 or 4 cups for instance. This way you can just dump the frozen broth into a pot and cook when you're ready to make soup.

1 comment:

  1. I make broth/stock like this all the time - although I don't mix bones from various meat types.

    If I cook a chicken, I boil the carcass to make stock. If I need boneless chicken thighs, I buy the skin on, bone in ones, skin and bone them and boil the bones to make stock. If I cook a bacon or ham joint, I save the cooking water to use as ham stock. I buy whole salmon, fillet them to make 2 separate fillets and then boil the skin, bones and all the trimmings to make fish stock...

    I also save vegetable trimmings and peelings (not the bad bits, just the good stuff). I stash it all in a ziplock bag in the freezer, and once the bag is full I boil it all up to make vegetable stock.

    All of this gets frozen in 2 cup portions (experiance has taught me that this is the best quantity for most recipes for my family) in ziplock bags in the freezer for later use. If you put the stock in the bag, squeeze out all the air and seal it, you can flat-freeze it in a very thin later that you can bash apart and will thaw in minutes in a hot pan when you need to use it.

    My main reason for making my own stock/broths is because Palus (my Owner) cannot tolerate mono-sodium glutamate - it causes epileptic seizures if he has it in too great a quantity, so we have to be very careful about what we eat. And most store bought stocks are quite high in MSG....

    but I also abhor waste and also like to save money where I can...



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