STOCK – The Mother Soup
This stockpot belonged to my great-grandmother. It’s well over 100 years old. As a frame of reference, my grandmother passed away last year in April just a few short days after her 95th birthday; and it belonged to her mother originally. So needless to say, this stockpot is old. It’s stained and missing the pull on the lid, but I love it. I got it when my grandparents moved out of their home into the old folks’ home and my uncle moved into their house. In that process, my uncle cleaned out and boxed up all the stuff grandma and grandpa didn’t take with them that he wasn’t keeping. He offered to the family (his siblings first, then my generation) to let us take what we wanted. As soon as I saw this stockpot I knew I wanted it. My mom tells me stories about when she and my grandma lived with my great-grandmother in Akron, Ohio when my mom was very young, and about my great-grandmother making chicken stock in this pot. My mom tells me all about how that was the best chicken soup she’s ever had, and my mom makes a pretty mean chicken soup in her own right. My great-grandmother would go to the kosher butcher, get a kosher chicken, and use that to make her chicken soup. I really need to find a kosher butcher!
This pot means a lot to me and I feel fortunate to have it in my kitchen. I feel like this pot is my great grandmother in the kitchen with me. Cooking with me. I feel like maybe my cooking has improved and just maybe this magic pot has something to do with that.
The first time I made stock in this pot was in 2013 and I’ve been making soup and stock in it ever since. It’s been the only pot I use to make my chicken and turkey stock for the last 7 years. I’ve brought the turkey carcass home from thanksgiving every year since and use it to make turkey stock. And when I get a rotisserie chicken and pull all the meat off the bones I’ll freeze the bones and when the gallon-size Ziploc® is full of chicken bones, I’ll boil ’em up with veggies and yummies and make chicken stock. I call this the mother soup. I use it to make all my yummy soups for months. And then I make more. You can use it anywhere a recipe calls for broth or stock.
Turkey carcass, chicken bones, practically anything can go into the pot. I recently used chicken drumsticks and it worked perfectly. You can even do a whole chicken, I haven’t tried that yet but I want to.
Throw all them bones (yes them bones!) in the pot. Wash a few carrots a few stalks of celery, rough chop those, and throw them in the pot. You don’t have to peel the carrots. I have never peeled the carrots, I just clean them well. Cut an onion in quarters and throw it in. Again, I don’t peel it. The onion skin gives the stock a beautiful deep color that I love. Grab an entire head of garlic, slice it in half around (like the equator), and toss it in. All the peels and paper will get strained out when it’s done cooking.
Bring it up to barely a boil and simmer uncovered for 2-3 hours. The longer the better. you’ll want to add water as it evaporates while it cooks.
A little note on the chicken used to make the stock: I personally do not enjoy boiled chicken, never have. So I don’t use that chicken in the final product. This won’t matter if you just use bones, or if you don’t have an aversion to boiled chicken like I do. When your stock is done, strain it really well and pull the chicken out. remove it from the bones and add it back to the soup.
The great thing about soups is that you are free to express your taste, they are kind of like art. There isn’t a real recipe for this stock, you pretty much just go with what you feel. To hear more about soups, stews, and chilis listen to Gettin’ Soupy on Conversations About Food Over Food via Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or your favorite podcast provider!
Until next time, happy eating!
THE MOTHER SOUP RECIPE
- turkey or chicken carcass
- more chicken with bones (thighs or drumsticks)
- 3 celery stalks
- 3 carrots (unpeeled)
- whole yellow onion (unpeeled & quartered)
- head of garlic (sliced like the equator)
- whole peppercorns
- Throw all the bones into a large stockpot or dutch oven
- Wash carrots and celery, rough chop into 2″ long pieces, throw into pot
- Quarter an entire onion, throw it in pot
- Halve an entire head of garlic and add to pot
- Add enough water to cover all the ingredients plus 4-6 cups more (depending on size of pot)
- Add salt and peppercorns (any other dry seasonings you’d like)
- Bring it up to barely a boil and simmer uncovered for 2-3 hours (longer simmer means deeper flavor)
- When the stock is done strain in a metal mesh strainer, you can either keep or discard the chicken in the soup but remove the bones
- Freeze and use whenever a recipe calls for broth or use as a base for soup, stew or chili