When I promised my husband that I would provide a steady supply of “Kitchen Gold” I think he was expecting something completely different than what he found in the freezer, refrigerator and sometimes balcony.

There is no recipe more important than homemade stock. Canned and vacuum-packed products just do not even dimly resemble nutritious, comforting homemade stock. Last night, I taught a class at a local synagogue and was flooded with questions from curious home cooks. Stock making is an art and thankfully, also an easy one to master. Feel free to use your own “riffs” on my theme and make the stock your own.

As we prepare for an eight-day eating festival (Pesach), I think it is important to take some time to make homemade arsenal products. Stock is one of those. With a freezer loaded with stock you will have soups, sauces and dinners at your fingertips. It is easy; call your local butcher, buy some bones and let ‘er rip. Stock making is mostly a passive project. You can be doing other tasks while the stock pot or slow cooker does the rest.

Stay tuned for my favorite Pesach recipes.

World’s Greatest Chicken Soup

Chicken soup is as warm and comforting as a favorite pair of slippers. It turns out that the myth of Jewish penicillin is more than just a myth. Chicken Soup may actually have some medicinal benefits. But, healing properties or not, it is a fact that almost every culture has some form of chicken soup. Try making your own stock, you won’t regret the time and you’ll appreciate the incredible taste. Everyone loves chicken soup!

Chicken Stock: yields 4 quarts rich stock

5 pounds of chicken bones

Approximately 12 cups of water

1 large Spanish onion, chopped

3 large carrots, chopped

3 celery ribs, chopped

3 sprigs of fresh thyme

5 parsley sprigs

1 bay leaf

1 whole clove

1 teaspoon of whole black peppercorns

  1. Place all the ingredients in a large stock pot and fill with water only to the level of the bones and vegetables. This will guarantee a rich, not watery stock. (Do not add salt at this point. The stock will reduce as part of the natural simmering process and salting the stock early can make it overly salty.)
  2. Place the stockpot (uncovered) over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
  3. Skim off any film that floats to the top. The film will make your soup cloudy and bitter.
  4. Continue simmering for 4 hours. Turn off the heat and allow the chicken stock to steep.

5. Strain out the bones and vegetables and discard. Completely cool the stock in your stock pot in a sink filled with cold water and ice before storing it in the refrigerator or freezer. Ladle off the fat from the top of the stock before using.

If covered, stock can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

From Stock to Chicken Soup: Serves 8

1 pound white or dark chicken meat, cut into small cubes

½ cup of each: thinly sliced celery, carrots, parsnips, and celery root

½ pound wide egg noodles

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Salt and white pepper to taste

  1. Bring chicken stock to a simmer in a large saucepan or stock pot.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer about 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

Adjust seasoning to taste.

Laura Frankel is an Executive Chef at Wolfgang Puck Kosher Catering and author of numerous kosher cookbooks including Jewish Cooking for All Seasons and Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes. To purchase her books, click here.
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