Stocks . . .

You can eliminate the roasting step in this basic recipe if you are pressed for time, but the roasting provides a darker, richer stock with an added dimension of flavor. Use this stock as the base for French onion soup or any hearty soup, or just to add flavor to rice, noodles, or sauces.

Beef Stock

4 lbs meaty beef bones
2 onions, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 ribs celery, roughly chopped
4 quarts water
1 bunch parsley
1 bay (laurel) leaf
1/2 t dried thyme
12 whole peppercorns
2 whole cloves
Salt to taste

Place the beef bones, onions, carrots, and celery in a roasting pan and bake in a preheated 500F oven, turning everything once or twice, until browned, about 30 minutes.

Combine the bones and vegetables and the remaining ingredients in a large pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 3 hours.

Strain the stock, pressing on the meat and vegetables to extract as much liquid as possible.

Refrigerate and skim off and discard the fat that congeals on the surface.

Keep refrigerated for up to 4 days, or freeze for up to 1 year.

Makes about 4 quarts.

Any good chicken soup must be made with the best chicken stock. Although some canned preparations are good enough to substitute in a pinch, I strongly recommend making your own stock for any recipe in which the broth is the star.

Chicken Stock

1 T vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 lbs chicken legs, chopped with a cleaver into 2-inch pieces
8 C boiling water
8 - 12 whole black peppercorns
2 bay (laurel) leaves
Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over moderate heat and sauté the onion until it is tender but not browned, about 5 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onion to a large bowl.

Brown the chicken pieces a few at a time on all sides in the oil remaining in the pot and transfer them to the bowl containing the onion as the rest of the chicken pieces are browned.

Return the chicken pieces and onion to the pot. Reduce the heat to low and cook tightly covered for 20 minutes.

Add the boiling water, salt, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Return to a simmer, cover, and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.

Strain the stock and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, until the fat has risen to the surface and congealed. Skim off and discard the fat.

Reheat before using.

Makes about 2 quarts.

Originating chef’s (not me) notes:

If you think of stocks as water that tastes really good, and then apply them to virtually any cooking situation that requires water, you'll get some idea of the many ways they are used in professional kitchens. They lend flavor to just about any food that is boiled or braised, and they form the basis of too many sauces to count. They enhance the flavor of every vegetable, meat, seafood, starch, grain, and legume they come in contact with, and there would be no such thing as soups without them. There is no single more important skill that a serious cook should master than making a good stock.


A southeast Florida laid back beach bum and volunteer bikini assessor who lives on island time. 


  • hossmosshossmoss Posts: 1,250 Officer
    If you use yellow onions and toss the onions in whole or halved, and unpeeled. the skins will give your broth a nice richer color. And use legs and thighs, whole with the bones. Lessons from my Jewish Grandmother who knew how to make a world class chicken soup! She would also toss in a couple carrots and parsnips.

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