Make your Own Soup Stock
Recently we wrote a blog post about "Soup Cooking Tips." When Martin was asked to review it, he started reading and then looked up and said quite seriously, "You can't have a great soup without a good stock first. That's where it all begins!"
We reassured him that we would write a blog about how to make a good soup stock – and here it is...
Routinely save your vegetable scraps in the freezer. Make sure they are well cleaned and fresh.
Vegetable peelings and skins can be saved including traditional favourites such as potato, carrot, celery, zucchini and tomato. Other vegetables we save include cucumber and even pumpkin!
Avoid vegetables from the brassicas family including broccoli and cauliflower. These are absolutely wonderful vegetables for their own specific soup, but when included with other ingredients they can easily become overpowering. Peppers are great – but remember that they can add a strong flavor.
Last but not least, don't forget to save some onion and garlic to include. (Including the skins!)
We use a variety of bones to create our stock including beef, chicken, turkey or pork. Each create wonderful flavours, with beef bones creating a richer broth than chicken or turkey.
If you decide to purchase bones to make your stock, check with your local butcher for cuts of meat suited to making stock. For example, soup hens are quite boney and their meat is stringier, making them inexpensive and perfect for making stock. Utilizing cuts of meat that are unpopular such as necks and backs also result in wonderful stocks and reduce waste.
For the soup featured in these photos a pork hock was used.
Use only small amounts of basic seasonings such as salt, pepper and a bay leaf. Remember that you will be adding your main seasonings to the soup, not the stock.
To release all of the flavours into the stock itself, simmer all ingredients with 4-6 cups of water for 3 hours, or during the day in a slow cooker. If you are using raw bones or meat, make sure it cooks thoroughly.
Place a colander over another large pot or bowl to separate out the bones and vegetable chunks that remain.
Voila! You have just created a wonderful homemade stock.
Stock can also be frozen. Save your stock in 4 to 6 cup measures which are common for most soup recipes. Be sure to label each container with the type of stock it contains.
You are now off to a wonderful start for your next soup recipe! Below you can see our final product – Split Pea with Ham soup!
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