Homemade Soup Stock
Every cook should know how to make a good homemade soup stock.
I learned from my mama that good homemade soup stock is essential in making the best soups, gumbo, and stews. Mama was an excellent cook, and she loved to cook soup and gumbo which we ate year round. That habit came from the years we lived in Houma, LA. In South Louisiana a little hot weather never got in the way of a good bowl of gumbo, shrimp creole, or etouffee.
Not only did we love all of Mama’s soups, but so did our church family. Once a month, we had Sunday potluck, and Mama always took a big pot of soup. No matter how big the pot, it ALWAYS came home empty. By the time I got through the lunch line, it was gone. Bless her! Mama quickly learned to leave some at home for our supper that night. So on potluck Sundays, I knew I could count on Mama’s soup for supper.
Where to begin?
Homemade soup stocks can be made from the bones (preferably meaty) of any kind of poultry or meat including beef, pork, lamb, etc. You can also make great seafood stock by boiling shrimp, crawfish, muscles, or crab shells. If you love soup and don’t mind cooking once in a while, never throw away bones or seafood shells. If I’m at someone’s house for a meal and see them throwing away a good meaty bone, I’ll even ask for it.
A few Christmases back, we were guests at our cousin’s who prepared a prime rib for the meal. I was so glad to be part of the clean up crew when I just stopped her from throwing meat, bones, and juices into the trash. Whew! What a save. I grabbed the pan (with promises to return it later) and quickly stashed it in my cold car. To a soup cook, that bone and trimmings were pure gold and made some of the best grillades you’ve ever tasted. Grillades you ask? Well, grillades is a Cajun meat stew in a brown gravy with a little red wine and trinity (onions, celery, & bell pepper) served over rice or grits. Hmm, better pull that recipe out of my recipe box real soon and share. Stay tuned!
If you’re not ready to make your stock or soup
If you find yourself with leftover bones or shells with no time to deal with them, just put everything in ziploc bags and freeze until you are ready. After you make your stock, if you don’t have time to make the soup, freeze the stock until you do. I have an entire freezer shelf dedicated to homemade stocks just waiting to become rich savory soups for my family.
If you have the freezer space
If you have the freezer space, cooking large pots of soup and freezing in small containers is a great way to save time and money. As a general rule, soup is more economical, healthier and more satisfying than fast food and restaurant fare. Besides, it helps bring the family around your dinner table while enjoying a home cooked meal on a busy night.
As a young mom
I would cook large pots of soup on weekends when Jeff was home to watch the kids. I froze them in dinner size portions to pull out on busy nights. This was when I began writing down and perfecting recipes for the food business I wanted to start one day. My sister and I actually began No Time 2 Cook by cooking some of the great soups we grew up eating as kids and selling them frozen at local farmers markets.
Matching stocks to soups
When choosing a recipe for a specific homemade soup stock you should consider the meat and the seasonings used on the meat when cooked. Cajun seasoned chickens and seafood work well for gumbo. Seafood stocks work well in seafood bisques, etouffee, and chowders. Smoked ham and pork shoulder stocks are perfect for bean soups. Cooked prime rib makes a fabulous stock for Grillades. My most recent recipe, Turkey Sausage, and Edamame Soup, was fantastic. The secret was the broth that was made from My Favorite Roasted Turkey .
Happy soup making!
For more information about No Time 2 Cook’s owner/founder, Karen Kurr, click here.
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