Thursday, April 1, 2010

Thursday Basics: Soup Stock

Through commercial advertisement children learn to enjoy simple and overly sweet flavours, like strawberry, grape, fruit punch and as they get a little older: The dreaded bubblegum. It's the beginning of the candy phase. And, if these one dimensional flavours are dumped upon them over time, we end up with picky eaters.

The other night neither mr. or I felt like cooking dinner so we grabbed a bit of sushi on the way home from the park. Halifax has been unseasonably warm for March and I have started wandering upstairs to stash to winter coats until next year. It might be too early, but I digress. The Boy effectively ate more than anyone else. He gobbled down (in his hufffy way) salmon sashimi, tuna nigiri and he was eyeing up the unagi but his sister was quicker. My children have unique palates because we encourage them to explore food. We don't assume they will not like a food because it isn't a frozen chicken finger or flat pizza. This isn't about food elitism, it is about teaching our children. It is about a legacy (monsters are [possibly] going to come out of the sea about this).
A few years ago I was listening to the radio and the featured expert stated that this coming generation will be unable to make their own soup stock. That is entirely unacceptable. That is a disservice to our children and ultimately devastating (particularly considering 2012 is right around the corner).

It doesn't have to be like that; you don't have to assume your children will only eat folded pepperoni pizza things because chain restaurants have decreed it so. Good food does take time. Delicious, nutritious food that is creative and beautiful takes time. And, the way you have to start thinking about food is different. That will work itself out. Want to know the reason why the coming generation won't know how to make soup stock?
Their parents aren't teaching them.

The Stock:

vegetable knobs (leftover bits)
bones (no humans.)
inner garlic cloves, ginger

You know all the ends of carrots, pieces of leftover onion and chicken bones that are always left over after cooking a meal? Keep 'em. store all of it in a sizeable container that is freezer safe. That is, instead of composting. Throw in all the small pieces of garlic, the kind that are so small that your fingertips hurt if you even consider chopping them. Beet ends give the end result a sweet and mysterious tang.

When you have filled that container dump it all in a pot with water and a hefty shot of white wine and season it with salt and pepper. Bring it to a boil then let it simmer for a few hours. All the yummines in your magic container of vegetable bits will be drawn out and make for an incredible basic soup stock.

That's it.

Steps (just to break it down.):

1. Collect the container of leftover chopped up vegetables and bones.
2. Bring to a boil in water and wine. Basically the ratio is 1 part wine to 5 parts water.
3. Simmer for a few hours.

A bit bizarre looking, it's the stock working its magic.

Once you have your stock guess what you can start doing? Anything! All those recipes that call for stock to infuse an extra layer of flavour .. guess what you have? Exactly. Forget that awful dehydrated yellow stuff, besides, if you are gluten-free you will be staying away from it already. It takes no time at all to collect your stock-fixings which means you theoretically won't run out. Too often, unless you are like us and have at least two containers in the freezer. Go. Have fun.

(A note: It is somehow appropriate that the very first Thursday Basic post inadvertently went up on Wednesday because I am completely incapable of figuring out my time zone. Isn't that perfect?)


  1. I had always wondered what was a better way to dispose of the odds-n-ends of veggies and whole chicken. I was looking for a simple, delicious way to make stock. Thank you!

  2. You are so welcome, Anne! Our goal is to have very little go into our compost bucket (our municipality has a fantastic compost system). Add literally everything to your stock container, ours has always ended up a little different and fantastic!

  3. Just a quick question: What type on white wine do you prefer for cooking? I know what kind to DRINK while I cook, but not what kind to add to things. :)

    I also will put my fresh herbs in ice cube trays (like you do with soup stock) and add a bit of water. That way when you need a quick pinch of crushed garlic, or parsley or whatever, and you don't have any that is fresh on hand, you can just pop in an ice cube full :)

  4. Michelle: I'm so sorry I hadn't written back to you! For cooking it is best to use dry wine because if the wine is too sweet it will completely overpower the dish. That goes for red or white. :)

    That's a fantastic idea! I don't know why I've never gotten around to it.