Fitness Minutes: (37,607)
823 9/1/11 10:52 A
Defenately sue the bones. They for one, add flavor espically when your making a beef stock. More importantly, the gelitan in the marrow disolves in the stock and acts as a thickening agent. Keeps you from adding any corn starch or other thickener to the soup. For chcken stock, I add the chicken bones and scraps, onion, celery, carrot, water and bay leaf in a pressure cooker for about an hour, then chill it and scrape the fat that has floated to the top.
Stock is great, and I keep a bag in the freezer with veggie ends. Be careful not to add too much onion skin, because while it gives a nice rich colour, it can make stock too astringent because of the tannins.
I did want to say that you don't need to make stock; you can make wonderful, flavourful soups without it. I start most soups with a base of chopped onion, carrot and celery, and I like to use a lot of bay leaves (keep count of how many you use so you can pull them all out before serving). I really recommend getting a crock pot if you are a soup lover -- there's nothing better than coming home to a nice hot pot of dinner!
Bean soups and split pea soup are some of the easiest to make! And I love pureed soups. If you blend them for extra time, they get souper creamy (sorry, bad pun!) Carrot, yam and ginger is a great creamy soup. Pureed vegetable soups don't need added dairy either!
During the winter, I make my own vegetable stock for soup. For about a week, I'll save the trimmings from the vegetables I eat: carrot and potato peels, tomato and bell pepper cores, stems of herbs like parsley and cilantro; the ends of celery stalks and zucchini. Basically the stuff that would otherwise get tossed, I save it in a plastic bag in the fridge until I have enough. The mixture changes each time I make it.
Then I toss all the veggie scraps, with some garlic and onion, into my stock pot, and fill it with water. I let it simmer for a couple hours, and then strain out the veggie scraps. It usually makes 10-20 cups of stock, which I divide into three or four cup servings, and then freeze. Very easy, and basically free since it uses stuff that would otherwise go to waste!
I make all of my stocks using scraps and peels. I keep a bag in the freezer so whenever I prepare veggies for dinner I throw the ends and peels into the bag (onion skins and ends, carrot ends, celery, leek greens, everything). When it is full I make stock. I also have a bag for chicken bones and skins. I will use both the chicken bag and the veggie bag for my chicken stock... when you are ready to make stock, heat a little olive oil and thow everything in to start cooking down a little. Once you can smell things cooking and you have a little bit of browning going, add water until everything is covered, scrape up the little brown bits as you add the water. Throw in a few cloves of garlic, some peppercorns, some fresh thyme (or dry if you don't have fresh), maybe some parsley and rosemary - whatever herbs that you like the flavor of basically - and partially cover the pot. Let it come to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. I let it go for about 4 hours or so. Then let it cool for a short while and strain through a colander into a clean pot. I also squeeze the vegs and bones really well to force all the liquid out. The last time I made a batch I then cooled it really well, put it in the fridge over night and then strained it again through a fine seive to get all of the fine particles and the fat off the top. This wound up being the most flavorful stock I have made in years! The chicken scraps were mostly from rotisserie chickens I had gotten at WalMart so they already had a lot of flavor cooked into them. I didn't add any salt to this and it really didn't need any.
I roast a whole chicken, strip off the darkmeat, breast, and anything else that looks promising. Then I throw the skin, bones, and whatever dripped off the roast chicken into a crock pot on low for at least 8 hours. The stock is what makes it through the strainer and what I don't scrape from the top of the gelled liquid.
This past weekend, I stripped the useful bits off a whole chicken, but I have yet to see what stock I get out of the skin and waste. (After a year of stripping roast chickens, I fear I still don't know much about the raw ones.)
I'm hoping that this winter, my husband will teach me his stew.... He had it going when we were first dating, it involved chicken and sausage and I understand it spent a week on the stove on low.
For vegetables, I would recommend the scraps and peels because that's where the vitamins are. I'm not sure how to correct the bitterness of a carrot-skin stock, but I'm sure the taste is better than bland.
For meat, I would use the bones simply because you can't eat them. I hear of other people saving the bones from their meals for stock. If I'm just cooking part of the meat, I let the bone cook with it, and only chicken gets re-used, and that only if I have stock starting anyway.
Fitness Minutes: (8,782)
332 8/29/11 2:47 P
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So I'm moving out of my parent's house in a couple of months (finally!) and I think I want soup to be a big part of my new life but I'd much rather make it from scratch than buy it at the store?
Does anyone know the basic methods of making simple soup stocks? Like, for vegetables, do you have to use fresh vegetables or can you use leftovers and peels? And for the meat do you absolutely have to use bones or can you do without it? I'm probably going to start with making chicken and vegetable soups because they seem to be the simplest and experiment with different flavors as I'm quite the rookie as far as cooking goes.
Any input would be much appreciated!
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