…a good homemade soup in these days of the can opener is almost a unique and always a satisfying experience. ~ Julia Child
The all day simmer. The intoxicating aroma. The long awaited first bowl.
It’s just about the most perfect thing in the world. There are not many weekends when the soup pot isn’t bubbling on the stove making luscious chicken stock, a vegetable soup or a decadent chowder.
As I stirred yesterday’s simmering white vegetable and bean soup, I couldn’t help but think soup is Simple Abundance in a pot. Out of what another might throw away, I had a steamy concoction of goodness that is not only satisfying for the stomach, but the soul as well.
The secret to the perfect soup is time, patience and as Julia would say a “what-the-hell attitude.” I started making soup from fixing up something canned. From there I graduated to soups with store bought stock. Now I can confidently say I’ve graduated to fully homemade soup, stock and all.
Patience and Time
For me it’s an all day process. I start with left over bones I keep in the freezer. Julia taught me the secret to an amazing stock that I’d missed in my self taught training. Brown the chicken bones. Who would have thought that one step would make all the difference in the world. I’ve included my chicken stock recipe below to spare you with the boring details.
Suffice to say, soup is the ultimate example of abundance for me. Making a stock re-centers me. Chopping the vegetables becomes a meditation. Combining the right spices and seasonings, magic.
If you had to pick one food that depicts abundance to you what would it be?
Jen’s Chicken Stock
- Bones from at least one chicken. We save our bones in the freezer. When our bone bag is full, it’s time for stock.
- Odds and ends from onions, carrots, celery if you have them. Since I make stock on a regular basis I keep the odds and ends from the week’s vegetables in a container in the refrigerator. If you don’t add 2 carrots, 2 stalks of celery, an onion and some garlic if you want.
- Olive Oil
Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot. Add the chicken bones. Let them brown, but watch them so they don’t burn. About half way through the process add the vegetables, thyme, bay leaves and peppercorns. You’re looking for some caramelization on the bottom of the pan. This takes about 15-20 minutes depending on how many bones you have.
Add water to cover the bones. Simmer partially covered for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Your kitchen will smell heavenly.
Strain the bones, etc. at the end of the cooking. You can start a soup at this point or freeze the stock you made.
Note: You’ll notice I didn’t add any salt to the mixture. This is because when you make a soup, the stock will continue to condense. If it contained the “right” amount of salt at the beginning, it would be too salty at the end.