I’m sure everybody has an idea of how to do this, but I often get asked if I make my own stocks or soups from scratch and how to go about it. So when I happened to be making a big pot of soup anyway, I thought I would take a couple pictures and post a tutorial (I’m calling it that because this is less of a recipe than a how-to).
Here is a loose list of ingredients:
chicken carcasses – I use 3 for a stock pot full of soup, which I pull from my freezer, having put them there after pulling off the usable meat (I usually leave the wings on the carcass) from a roast chicken dinner or from a deli roasted chicken. If this is not something you are likely to have kicking around, you could purchase some (2-3) quarter chickens (leg and back) and use that instead.
onion – one large yellow or white, chopped
celery – 4 or 5 sticks with leaves if possible, chopped
2 bay leaves
spices – thyme, tarragon, basil, oregano, savory, rosemary, parsley, etc. This is really to your taste preference; I usually add a half teaspoon or so of each of whatever I have that looks good in the moment, the above being what I put in this time. Also, don’t be afraid to have a couple of chicken bouillion cubes on hand, they make a big difference if you are having a hard time getting a flavour you like.
salt and pepper to taste – more salt than you would think. If it tastes chicken-y enough but the flavour still isn’t there, it’s probably salt that you are missing.
veggies – again what I added this time – 3 corn cobs, kernels cut off, 5-8 medium
carrots, diced, a couple handfuls frozen sweet peas and edamame beans. I’ve also often added chopped green or yellow beans and 2 or 3 big potatoes, but I didn’t have any beans and I decided (based on there being less potatoes in my house than I thought) to make this soup with rice
rice – I used 3/4 cup of brown jasmine rice, but I think quinoa would also be nice
1. Place onions, celery and bay leaves in a large stockpot. Mine has an insert to put the bones in, so I put that in on top and put the carcasses inside. If yours doesn’t have an insert, don’t worry, it’s not neccessary; you can pour the stock through a colander at the end and pick through the bones from there. Add enough water to cover the carcasses; this was about 14-16 cups in my case, but this is the first time I’ve ever measured it. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 3-6 hours. Let cool for a couple of hours before trying to get the bones out or it will just burn you a lot. I often do this much the day before I want the soup and then finish it the next day; just warm it up a bit before you try and sort through it. You can also skim off any accumulated fat this way.
2. Pull your insert out, or pour the whole thing through a colander (making sure you are catching the broth in something big enough). Now for the fun part; pick through the bones and add any meat to the pot and put all bones or cartilage in a discard bowl.
3. At this point, I like to taste the broth; it’s easier to test the flavour when it’s not too hot. I add my first round of salt here, probably 2-3 tsp, but I use my grater, so I never measure, and keep in mind that you can always add more. I also add a bunch of freshly ground pepper, hopefully about 1/2 – 1 tsp, and the rest of the spices. The vegetables will also add a certain sweetness and flavour to the broth, so don’t despair if it’s not quite where you expected it to be just yet.
4. Add the veggies and simmer for 10 minutes or so and then recheck the flavour. Salt and pepper to taste again, but this is also where I would add some chicken or veggie bouillion if I still felt it was too watery – mostly that seems to happen if I didn’t have as much time to boil the bones, or if I only had 2 carcasses for the pot.
5. Add the rice (or potatoes) and simmer until cooked, about 15-20 minutes (less if you are using white rice). Serve and enjoy!
PS No Knead Bread – Just do it.