There’s nothing like homemade soup made completely from scratch, and it’s not nearly as difficult as you might expect. I usually make it in several steps so that it doesn’t take too much time all at once. You start with a perfectly roasted chicken (or turkey) for dinner, and with whatever is leftover you create your stock. From there all sorts of delicious options open up from soup (of course) to a delectably creamy risotto!
Homemade stock adds a depth of flavor and richness that you just can’t buy. It will make anything you cook with it taste amazing, and if that’s not enough I even have a slow cooker option for you! I do think that stock slowly simmered on the stove has the edge with a slightly better flavor, but I make stock in my slow cooker all the time because it’s just that much easier and it’s hands off!
As I mentioned, it all begins with a roast chicken or turkey, if you’re making turkey stock you’ll need to multiply everything in the recipe by 3 because the average turkey is 3x bigger than a chicken. I’ve personally never made turkey stock in a crockpot because I’m not sure there’s one big enough out there to hold it, but a leftover roast chicken fits the average crockpot perfectly.
So… this is what a roast chicken looks like in our house after dinner. If there’s extra meat, it’s best to take it all off and set it aside to add to your soup after the stock has finished. If it’s left to simmer for hours the meat turns out dry and stringy. I also keep any pan drippings and add them to my stock as well for extra flavor.
For stock you always use what’s called a mirepoix which is 2 parts onion to 1 part carrot and celery. If you get used to that ratio, you’ll never have to measure again when you make stock.
You don’t need to be particular about how you chop up your veggies, just chunk them up and it all turns out the same after several hours of simmering.
Place the leftover chicken and drippings in the bottom of a large stockpot and top with your chopped onions, carrots, and celery.
Then you add a couple of bay leaves and water before simmering it into a rich fully flavored stock.
Tip 1: When the stock first comes to a boil, skim off the greyish foam that rises to the top, this helps to keep your stock clear and golden.
Tip 2: It’s important not to boil the stock too long, once it comes to a boil immediately lower the heat to low so that the stock is just simmering. If the stock is boiling at a hard boil it will become cloudy and the flavor isn’t as good.
Once the stock has simmered for a few hours and is reduced by 1/2, you strain the stock and refrigerate it until it’s thoroughly chilled, (unless you’re making soup immediately). From there you can choose to use it however you’d like or freeze it for a later use.
Just be sure when you’re straining out your stock that you put a bowl under the strainer to catch the stock. This sounds obvious and all but there have been at least 2 times where I’ve been distracted, and I actually poured my chicken stock right down the drain of the sink instead of into a bowl.
Once you have your strained stock, you want to put it into small containers to chill if you’re not using it right away. If you have a large pot of something hot in your refrigerator it takes too long to chill, and can bring up the temperature of everything else in the refrigerator. In the winter months I have a spot where I chill my stock outside so that it doesn’t take up any space in the refrigerator.
Another fun tip that I use is to freeze chicken stock in ice cube trays, this is perfect for making a quick pan sauce with chopped fresh herbs if you’re sautéing chicken cutlets. And just a little later this week, there will be a recipe for the Homemade Chicken (or Turkey) Soup you see in the above picture!
- 1 leftover roast chicken, (with all the meat removed) and any leftover drippings
- 1 medium white or yellow onion, 12 ounces
- 2 cups roughly chopped celery, 6 ounces
- 2 cups peeled and roughly chopped carrots, 6 ounces
- 2 bay leaves
- 20 cups or 5 quarts of cold water
- Place all the ingredients into a large stockpot in the order listed.
- It's important that the water is cold, if you start with hot water it ruins the clarity and flavor of the stock.
- Bring the pot to a boil over high heat. As soon as it comes to a boil, turn the heat down to low. Skim off any greyish foam that rises to the surface during the next 5-10 minutes. Simmer the stock for 3-4 hours or until reduced by about ⅓.
- Strain the stock into containers to cool, being careful not to burn yourself.
- Use the stock right away or chill completely before freezing for a later use.
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