One of the primary components of soup is a good stock.
These days, you can buy decent stock in aseptic cartons at the grocery store, but if you're properly motivated, you can make it yourself.
Me, I've been fairly motivated, but I didn't have the appropriate equipment to try Alton Brown's recipe, although I've had the requisite chicken carcasses, vegetables, and herbs in the house at various points this year.
My mother, generous soul that she is, offered me the loan of her stockpot so I could actually clear the carcasses out of my freezer and turn them into stock.
- fresh parsley
- fresh thyme
Ease of Preparation
This is very easy, but you do absolutely need the correct size stockpot. AB calls for a 12qt pot for stock-making, which is the size I borrowed from Mom. (My largest stockpot is 5qt.)
Collecting the carcasses is also time-consuming, but the munchkin had taken quite well to roast chicken for dinner over the last year, so I had plenty.
My sister could certainly do this if she put her mind to it.
Specialty equipment required?Yes.
In addition to the stockpot, you need a strainer - to remove the solids from your stock - and a smaller stockpot or large bowl to hold the stock you make. (Wouldn't want your 12 hours' work to literally go down the drain, would you?)
It's also suggested that a vegetable steamer be used to help keep the vegetables and chicken parts submerged, though I don't know if this is completely necessary. It is quite helpful, though.
Well, this is kind of sticky.
It's not an every day or even an every week rotation type of recipe, but that's mostly because I haven't got chicken parts every day. I've got several quarts of stock in my freezer, which should get me through the winter without having to buy box stock (yay!) but haven't had occasion to make soup yet.
I did use some of it in a slow-cooker pulled pork recipe (16oz frozen stock, 1-2 thinly sliced onions, 2lbs bone-in pork shoulder, 1c apple cider; cook on LOW for 8-10hrs, drain, pull, mix with favorite BBQ sauce & serve) and it turned out nicely, so that portion of this batch was a win.
We'll see how it goes as the season progresses.