Create the perfect base for any winter soup recipe

Some things are just better when they're made from scratch, not to mention making something with your own two hands provides such satisfaction. When you cook from scratch, you will know exactly what ingredients went into your meals, and it gives you flexibility to adjust your recipe for any dietary or taste preferences.

 

HOMEMADE SOUP STOCK

This month, I'm kicking off the From Scratch column with one of the easiest things to make and store: homemade soup stock. It’s going to be a staple in future From Scratch recipes, so it’s a perfect place to start. You can make vegetable, chicken, mushroom, seafood and more, as the basics are pretty much the exact same across the board. And by making your own stock, not only do you reduce the amount of sodium that is in most store-bought cartons, but you are also able to use those leftovers just sitting in your vegetable crisper.

Another great tip: I save my chopping scraps (the ends of celery, carrots, onion, stems of mushrooms, parsley, and more) in bags in the freezer so when I need to make stock, I don't have to go buy produce.

Generally, the three main things you need for any stock are: onions, carrots and celery, and personally for me, garlic. Other basic additions in most recipes are bay leaves and peppercorns. After that, if you want to make a mushroom stock, add in mushrooms. Is there a leek sitting in your vegetable drawer? Toss it in. If you just carved a turkey and have a significant number of bones left over, don't just compost them, toss them in a pot.

Below I'll give you the basics on how to make your own stock and a few options for different kinds, but it's really hard to go wrong here. Just let it simmer as long as you can, and maybe invest in a large stock pot.soap stockChristine McAvoy

 

VEGETABLE STOCK INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 large onions, quartered
  • 4 large carrots (or 6 medium)
  • 4 large celery stalks (or 6 medium)
  • 1 large head of garlic (or 2 small), chopped in half length-wise (optional, but recommended)
  • 4 large bay leaves (optional, but recommended)
  • 2 tsp of peppercorns (optional)
  • Leek (optional)

     

MUSHROOM STOCK INGREDIENTS

  • All of the above from the vegetable stock
  • Mushrooms

     

CHICKEN OR BEEF STOCK INGREDIENTS

  • All of the above from the vegetable stock
  • Approximately 2 lbs of chicken/beef (Note: you can use almost any kind of chicken parts. If there is a lot of fat, you may need to skim it off while the stock is simmering.)

     

SEAFOOD OR FISH STOCK INGREDIENTS

  • All of the above from the vegetable stock
  • Approximately 2 lbs leftover shells from any shellfish you have been cooking (crab, lobster, prawns, etc.) or fish bones for fish stock

     

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large pot (likely the biggest you have), heat the olive oil over medium heat.

  2. Add the onions and let sauté for a few minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients (for whichever stock you have chosen to make).

  3. Add water until ingredients are just covered.

  4. Bring to a boil and then turn immediately down to a simmer and cover with a lid.

  5. Simmer for, at the very least, 2 hours, or as long as you’d like (I’ve left it for 24 hours before). You can test for flavour along the way.

  6. Drain the stock into a clean pot or large bowl, through a fine mesh sieve, and compost your spent vegetables, etc.

  7. I store my stock in 475 ml (about 2 cups) Wide Mouth Mason jars, so I can easily grab small amounts for recipes.

  8. Stock should keep for a week in the fridge, or a few months in the freezer.

Makes approximately 8 cups of stock