Good stock recipes for your soups are so easy to make and will give you delicious and healthy meals for your family. All it takes is a bit of time and once you know what to do you will have soups far more superior than any you have bought in a can.
A simple meat stock made from a collection of bones and meat scraps can be used for making delicious soups, braising meat and vegetables, meat sauces and deglazing a roasting pan.
Traditionally stock recipes were made from raw meat and vegetables. They form the basis of all the good sauces and soups in France. They are truly wonderful in the way they produce the best tasting foods, but today, for many people who are busy, they are not practical.
Or are they?
There is nothing wrong in using a canned substitute, many of which are very good and produce pretty good results. However, if you want quality, taste and nourishment at a fraction of the price then making your own is the simplest way to do this. If you plan ahead you can have it both ways – convenience and the very best of French cuisine!
By this I mean that you can save any scraps of meat and put them in your freezer. Any scraps of beef, veal, poultry and bones can be saved until you have enough to make a quantity of good flavoured stock which can again be frozen and used when you want it.
If you can afford to buy your meat in large quantities such as a hind quarter of beef for instance, with all the bones, you will have a good supply for your needs. Together with any other meat you may have, this will see you through many months for a large family.
In today’s society it makes sense to be frugal. Too much is thrown away. The French housewife knows this very well and she makes her food and money stretch much further.
Pork is not a meat I use as it can be too sweet. Some may not use lamb, but I have used it with excellent results. It’s a matter of personal taste. A piece of bone from a roasted leg of lamb added to the stock pot is good for vegetable soup, but again, try it for yourself and you may prefer just beef, veal and poultry.
The best vegetables for stock recipes are simply carrots, onions, celery, leeks and sometimes parsnips. Potatoes are too starchy and will turn the liquid cloudy. Cabbage and turnips have a strong flavour so many don't use them, but again, you may like them!
You will need a very large heavy based saucepan or soup pan for making large quantities of stock. About a 16-pint capacity is good. If you are making a smaller amount then of course choose a smaller pan.
How do you choose what stock recipes you need ?
Quite often your recipe will say what type you need. Otherwise, you can use one you like, or have available. Here are a few basic recipes for making the basis of the most flavoursome soups, stews, savoury and sweet sauces.
A good tip is to make your own using the leftovers from a roast, such as a piece of meat on the bone, a carcass of a chicken and any bits or pieces of meat you would normally throw away. Keep them in a bag in the freezer and you will have your own store of basic ingredients.