So my husband hates sandwiches.
Ok I promise this will relate to soup soon, hang with me here. So yeah, unless a sandwich is grilled my husband isn’t a giant fan. Unfortunately he works in the construction industry, so he is always traveling from job site to job site, which rarely have a microwave. So he needs a non-microwave and portable food for lunch. You guessed it, sandwiches. Sad face right? But recently he had an epiphany when driving home with a co-worker. His co-worker was drinking hot coffee on the way home, from a thermos he brought from home. To recap: Steaming hot coffee at 5 PM! Yes I know you already figured it out: bring hot soup for lunch in a thermos. If it can keep coffee steaming till 5pm it can most likely handle soup too. As soon as we figured this amazing secret out I (of course) promptly went out and purchased my husband an identical thermos. Hurrah hot soup!
Most fortunately my husband loves soup and I love experimenting on my husband so I’ve been pondering what all a person could turn into soup. Vegetables? Not a problem. Meatballs? Easy. Lasagna? hummm…
I’m actually thinking you could turn lasagna into soup using…
Which is in fact the secret to turning almost anything into soup. I’m really thinking that almost anything with some chicken broth could be adapted into some really good soup. Maybe not cake. That would totally require frosting stock. I know: I’m a dork.
Plus chicken broth is the base for a zillion real soups anyway. And even if a recipe calls for beef or some other stock you can usually sub chicken stock. It’s kind of just one of those handy things to know how to make.
So there are two ways to make chicken stock. You can save all your bones from your roast chickens, (and sometimes skin) and basically boil them along with onion, garlic, and celery in a large pot of water, and then straining the mixture reserving the liquid. Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes has a good recipe with instructions for this method.
This method is of course the most economical, allowing you to use as much of a whole chicken as possible. Different tricks can be used to enhance the flavor of your stock, such as roasting the bones before the boiling.
Another method is to use whole pieces of the chicken (skin and meat included). Less desirable pieces of meat are often used so as not to be wasteful. Smitten Kitchen has a fantastic recipe for Perfect, Uncluttered Chicken Stock, made using this method. This recipe yields an extremely flavorful stock. But perhaps the best part of the recipe is that you make the stock in your crock-pot and don’t have to watch it while it cooks!
I personally make a large batch of stock from time to time, and freeze it in small containers and large ziplock bags so I can have it on hand portioned for large batches of soup or individual recipes. I use stock in soup of course, but also in risottos, stuffings, meat dishes that I am braising, gravy, and probably several more things that I can’t think of this moment.
It doesn’t really matter which method you use, homemade chicken stock adds so much flavor to soups, and all types of other dishes. Make some today and immediately see a dramatic increase in the flavor of your cooking!