The basis of all soups are stocks. Though the convenience of store-bought stock can be a blessing, the taste of a homemade version will change your life. Stock not only serves as a basis for soup, but can be reduced to make sauces, to infuse in rice and grains, and even braise meats and vegetables for richer flavors. 

There are two types of commonly use stock: Basic Chicken Stock and Vegetable Stock.


Basic Chicken Stock

makes about 2 1/2 quarts

  • 5 pounds chicken parts: necks, wings, thighs (go organic of possible)
  • 2 carrots, large diced
  • 2 celery stalks, large diced
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and cut into 8ths
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorn

Bring water with chicken to boil. Place chicken in large pot and cover completely with water. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, skim any impurities and fat that may rise to the top.

Add vegetables and spices and simmer. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours at a low simmer. Strain through a cheesecloth or sieve into a large bowl or pot. Discard the solids.

Let cool before setting in the fridge. Refrigerate at least 8 hours and allow fat to accumulate to the top. Lift off and discard fat. Stock can be frozen for months at a time. be sure to label the containers with the date it was made.


Basic Vegetable Stock

makes about 2 quarts

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled, cut into 4ths
  • 2 large celery stalks, large dice
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, large dice
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 8 sprigs flat leaf parsley
  • 8 sprigs basil
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole black pepper corns
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Brown vegetables by heating oil in medium stockpot over medium heat. Add onion, stir and allow to caramelize, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add celery, carrots, garlic, stirring occasionally until vegetables are tendered and browned, about 10 minutes. Pour enough water to cover vegetables by an inch and add remaining ingredients. Reduce heat to gentle simmer and cook uncovered for an hour. 

Strain stock through fine sieve into large bowl or another pot. Extract as much flavorful liquid from the cooked vegetables as possible. Can be refrigerated for at least a couple days and frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw when ready to use.