If you’ve ever wondered hot to make your own soup stock, this is one post you’ll want to read right now! Homemade soup stock is delicious, easy, costs pennies compared what you pay several dollars for in a grocery store……and did I mention delicious? It’s worth saying twice.
Last but far from least, you know exactly what is in it, so you can be confident that you’re cooking frugally and healthily (If that isn’t a word, it should be!)
It also freezes beautifully, so you can make a huge batch and just pull out what you need later. I freeze mine 2 to 4 cups at a time, and then sling them straight into my slow cooker from the freezer along with whatever else I’m putting in a soup that day.
The basic idea is the same, whether you’re making a vegetarian soup stock, or a meaty one. You can also mix and match the ingredients when some of the vegetables are out of season…..BUT I would recommend trying it with this recipe first so you get a feel for it. Spend the money for organic or grow your own – it really does make a big difference in the final product and you’ll still be cooking for pennies a serving.
–Either poultry bones,a beef bone, OR 1/2 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained (for a light stock like chicken stock for the vegetarian crowd) , OR 1/2 cup red lentils, soaked and drained (for a darker beefier stock for the vegetarians)
-1/4 cup dried organic mushrooms
-2 unpeeled carrots, chopped into chunks
-4 or 5 celery stalks, chopped into chunks
-3 or 4 onions, peeled and chopped into quarters
-2 or 3 leeks, washed and chopped into pieces
-2 or 3 pieces of fresh thyme cut off your plant, or about 1 tsp of the dried stuff
-1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
-(optional) 1/4 cup fresh parsley ….you could also substitute cilantro here if you cook a lot of Asian recipes
Add all of the ingredients to a 6qt or bigger stock pot ( I like the restaurant supply, massive stock pots myself, because it makes a ton and saves me time – I just multiply the recipe accordingly) and fill it with water to about 2 inches below the top. Bring it to a boil. Boil it for 15 minutes and then lower to simmer for the next couple of hours.
Turn off the heat and let it cool for about an hour. Then strain out all of the vegetable matter and bones.
Divide it into your freezer containers (I like these glass ones, but as long as they fit you’re fine) and store your broth in the freezer. It’ll keep in your freezer for up to 6 months, or about a week in your fridge.
DO NOT salt your broth while it’s cooking; always season each individual soup you make, because if you add the salt to the stock and it cooks down it’s like drinking the Dead Sea. (Guess how I figured this out!)
I tend to be a throw-whatever-I-have-on-hand-into-the-pot kind of soup maker, but I thought I’d share a few slow cooker soups that I make regularly with this broth:
Vegetable soup: Chop some fresh veggies and saute them with olive oil and 1 tbsp thyme until the onions are translucent. Add into the crockpot with your soup stock and a can of diced tomatoes. Add a splash of white wine and cook on low all day. Make lots because it’s even better the next day! Season to taste just before serving.
Cream-of-something soup: In your crockpot, put your broth and whatever frozen veggies you’re using (I LOVE cauliflower that I froze from the garden!). Now, take a saucepan and mix together 1 cup of milk, 3 tbsp corn starch, and (optional) shredded cheese. Raise the heat to medium high and stir until it’s thickened, then add it to the crockpot. Cook on low all day or high for about 5 hours.
Chicken or Turkey noodle soup: You know how to do this. I won’t insult your intelligence.
Taco soup: Add your beef broth from the freezer, some cooked ground beef, a can of tomato sauce, and a package of taco seasoning (homemade is the best, about 1-2 tbsp) and a freezer container or two of cooked kidney beans. Cook on low all day or high for 4 hours. Serve with cornbread, corn tortillas to soak it up, and/or a dollop of shredded cheese and some sour cream.
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