Nothing beats a hot, home-made soup on a winter’s day. And what’s the most important ingredient in a good soup? A good quality stock! Stock, or broth, is jam packed with flavour and it’s great for people who are watching their weight. Stock’s main ingredient is water, which means that it generally has less than 1% fat, no carbs, but lots of vitamins and minerals that have come from the vegetables and bones. The store bought versions are okay – they’re very handy when you’re short on time – but one of the main drawbacks of store bought stock is their salt content. Making your own is easy and even if you add a little salt it’s still likely to have less salt than the supermarket varieties.
How to make your own:
Making your own is super easy. You literally throw everything into a pan and let it simmer for an hour or so. There are lots of different varieties but they all have a common theme: heat bones with onion, celery top, carrot, turnip, garlic, mixed herbs (such as parsley or thyme) and add enough water to cover. Roast your bones in the oven first to brown them if you want a darker, richer stock.
Here’s a recipe for a delicious chicken stock:
- 2kg chicken wings or carcasses
- 2 carrots
- 1 onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- 4 celery stalks
- 1 tbsp. whole peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- Sprigs of parsley
- 2 litres of water
Simple chop up all the ingredients and brown them off in a pan before adding the water and bringing it to the boil. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for 1-2 hours, occasionally skimming the fat off the top. When done, strain the stock by passing it through a sieve. The stock can then be frozen in half a litre or litre serves ready to be used for soups or risottos.
If you’ve run out of time to make your own here’s what to look for in a store bought stock. Avoid ones with unspecified “flavours” and MSG. A salt-reduced or no added salt stock is also going to be much better for you!