There’s nothing worse than a store-bought, cardboard boxed, stock. Well for me at least. Be it chicken, beef, or vegetable, something besides the lack of nutrients and flavor, just creeps me out a little. Do you really want to consume broth that’s been sitting on the shelves of a your supermarket for months and months? I don’t know about you, but for me that just doesn’t cut it.
It happened a couple of months ago… I had just moved into a new apartment, went on a trip to California days after and on my return had absolutely nothing in my brand new sparkly kitchen. Devastated at the thought of having to go out when all I wanted was to be home with a big bowl of soup, I ran out to my local supermarket, grabbed a few essentials and in a moment of weakness and clouded, hopeful judgement, decided to try the stock that was staring at me from the shelf conveniently across from the check out. I came home and proceeded to make a carrot soup, one that specifically calls for chicken stock. Now usually, I would open my freezer and add in my home-made frozen ziplock of stock to my pot, however, this time that wasn’t an option so I turned the spotlight on to the store-bought product and waited for it to shine. I brought the soup to a boil, then to a simmer, waited 30 minutes and gave it a try. BLAND. I added in some extra salt and spices and gave the stock the benefit of the doubt, maybe I needed to give it more time to meddle with the rest of the ingredients. Another 40 minutes passed. BLAND AGAIN!
I think it’s safe to say that from that small hiccup, I won’t be running to buy any store-bought stock again. I’ll stick to what I know best, making it at home, the right way.
Making your own stock at home might sound daunting or time-consuming but it really aint so bad. Here’s my secret, every time you’re cooking fresh vegetables and chicken or meat, save the scraps that you’re about to throw out. Hold on to those carrot and onion peels, celery’s tips,and especially those chicken or beef bones or giblets. Yeah, they may not look appetizing to say the least but they’ll come very handy when you’re in time of need. I like to collect the scraps as a go in a ziplock, freezing them until I’m ready to make the stock. When the time comes, I bring water to a boil, add in the ziplock of scraps, season the broth and add in any vegetables whose expiration dates are looming. Check back an hour (or three if you have more spare) and once cooled, pour portions into ziplock bags and freeze. You’ll have that homemade stock waiting for you at the ready for months on end.
You will need
- 6 cups water
- 1/2 lb chicken bones and giblets, or raw chicken on the bone (or whatever you have will suffice)
- 2 whole carrots or leftover carrot scraps
- 2 celery sticks or leftover celery scraps
- 2 onions or onion scraps
- 1 tomato
- 5 sprigs of parsley
- chicken bouillon cube (optional)
- a few pinches of salt and pepper to taste
- Start by bringing the water to a simmer in a large pot.
- Add in all of the remaining ingredients, keep on a simmer and cover.
- Check on it an hour later and add in extra salt and pepper if needed. Turn off the heat or leave simmering for 2 more hours if you have the time.
- Separate soup from vegetables.
- Serve with a sprig of parsley.