There are few things in the kitchen that you can get more mileage out of than a good stock or broth. Stocks are such a foundational element in so many recipes that they are often taken for granted, their endless variety and possibility ignored.
But starting a soup, sauce or casserole with a well-made stock or broth can completely transform the dish, adding depth and variety and, most importantly, making even the most last-minute entrée taste like you stood over it for hours.
And that is where you get the mileage, the bang for your buck – because not only are stocks powerful, they are also cheap and EASY. Their components are often the bits and bobs you would toss away. They take time, but not attention. You essentially throw everything into a giant pot, add some water, pour yourself a glass of wine and put on the game. Several hours later you dish it up into some containers and stick it in the freezer. Congratulations, you have now bottled Time and have it at the ready for the next time you want to make a homemade chicken soup in twenty minutes.
In our case we wanted to add some panache to a tomato soup we were planning for guests. Blame it on the beautiful spring flowers around here, but most everything has been coming off the grill lately, so we have had smoke on the brain. Thus, it seemed like an excellent ingredient in tomato soup. So, when we were preparing the vegetable stock beforehand, we added the bone from a smoked pork shoulder. The result was a velvety stock possessing a deep fire-roasted vegetable flavor with just a hint of wood smoke, which translated into a simple tomato soup made extraordinarily complex, which then translated into spoons clinking against empty bowls and high praise all around.
- 1 Shoulder Bone from Smoked Pork Shoulder (meat removed)
- 1-2 Onions (quartered)
- 4-5 Carrots (broken into halves or thirds)
- 4-5 Celery Stalks (broken into halves or thirds)
- 2-3 Springs of Parsley
- Add all ingredients to a large soup pot. Add 8-12 C of water (depending on the size of your pot - basically, you want the ingredients covered with water and the pot about ¾ full).