Grandma knew the secret to a perfect soup. She’d make her own soup stock. She’d simmer the stock for hours on her stove and the aroma would fill the house tempting even the most stubborn palate. A great way to use all of your left over vegetables that are clogging up the refrigerator, as well as the leftover meats that children won’t eat such as the chicken backs, is to make a soup stock.
Choose a stock pot with high sides for simmering soup bones and vegetables when making soup stock. The high sides allow for plenty of water and for a gentle simmer to boil without overflowing the pot. This also helps the water to not evaporate from the pot. If possible a strainer that fits into the stock pot should be used. This will make it much easier to remove bones and vegetable pieces from the final product.
Pick meats off of soup bones for sandwiches. Add soup bones to stock pot of water and bring to a rolling boil. Boil until the bones fall apart and any other bits of meat fall of of the bones. This can take anywhere from 1 hour to several hours depending on the type of bones being used.
When adding vegetables to soup stock consider sautéing them prior to simmering. This allows the vegetables to impart a delicate but distinct flavor to the soup. Excellent choices for sautéing are onions, garlic, carrots, celery and potatoes.
Some vegetables can make your stock overpowering. Avoid these or add them to the actual soup itself during the last few minutes of cooking to prevent strong flavors overtaking your soup. Turnips, rutabagas, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, artichokes, and cabbage can overpower a soup stock in minutes so use sparingly or not at all.
Save all of your vegetable scraps. These can be saved in the freezer if you’re not making soup stock often. Simply keep a zippered bag in the freezer and place all scraps in the bag when preparing meals. Make sure to wash vegetables well prior to placing in freezer. Save everything from carrot peelings to onion skins and your soup stock is bound to be full of flavor. Leftover vegetables are also great candidates for soup stocks
Simmer your soup stock anywhere from 1 to 6 hours. The longer it’s simmered the stronger the flavor. When the soup stock is ready simply remove strainer from the stock pot and allow stock to cool before storing.
Soup stocks are the base to any good soup so use what ever is on hand and simmer it as long as possible for a full flavored soup stock.