I’m on the mend now, and about ready to get back in the kitchen and brew up some soup of my own. I start with stock—a big batch, enough to last me a while and make it worth my time. And oh, is it ever worth it. Rich, fragrant, gelatinous homemade stock can make the difference between a good soup and an outstanding soup. It’s easy to prepare, and though it simmers for hours, the hands-on cooking time is minimal. A few general tips:
Skim. Remove the foam and fat that floats periodically to the liquid’s surface. This keeps the stock pure and clean-flavored.
Watch the heat. Once you first bring it to a boil for a moment, immediately take the stock down to a bare simmer. This will keep fat from emulsifying into the stock and weakening its taste.
Strain well. Line a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth; this way you’ll catch tiny particulates.
Here’s a tried-and-true recipe for Homemade Chicken Stock. It uses slightly more chicken parts to water than the classic ratio and the chicken is roasted first, which makes it all the richer and more delicious.