Ah, springtime. Flowers blooming, birds fluttering and students … uh, coughing and sneezing? Yes, April has arrived, and apparently the plague has come along with it. I’ve been sick for two weeks, and judging by the horrible hacking sounds coming from the back of the lecture hall in class today, plenty of others have too.
It’s pretty hard to admire the gorgeous weather when you’re all sniffly; even worse, cooking becomes a dreaded chore. Nevertheless, we have to eat if we want to live. When I’m sick, I swear by two things: soup and juice. And while a cup of soup from the dining hall is nice, what you really need to get well is a piping-hot bowl of soup from scratch, the way that magical storybook fairy godmothers make it. (Unicorn hair optional.)
Making stock sounds intimidating, but for the most part it’s actually a hands-off operation. Throw some stuff in a pot, heat it up, watch a movie while it simmers for a few hours then ta-da! Your kitchen smells like heaven and you have a warm meal waiting for you. The stock can be sipped as broth, with no further embellishment or it can be used in your favorite soup recipe. And yeah, of course this takes longer than plopping a can of condensed Campbell’s into a saucepan and heating it up, but homemade stock has superior taste and nutritional value. All the better to cure you, my dears.
HIPSTER KITCHEN’S BASIC STOCK
This recipe is vegetarian (vegan, in fact) but can easily be tweaked to accommodate carnivores. If chicken soup for the soul is what you crave, add a whole raw chicken or several chicken parts to the pot in the first step, then proceed as directed.
3 or 4 carrots
3 or 4 celery stalks
a few sprigs of fresh parsley
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
2 tsp salt
Wash vegetables well, cut into large chunks –– two- or three-inch pieces is good –– and place in a large soup pot. Add spices. Cover with cold water until all vegetables are submerged –– if some float, that’s okay. Turn heat on high. When water boils, lower the heat and let simmer, uncovered, for about two hours. Taste the broth to see if it’s to your liking. When it has achieved the desired intensity of flavor, take off heat and remove vegetables. (If you’ve used chicken, let the whole pot cool to room temperature before chilling and skimming off fat.) Enjoy plain, or use in any recipe that calls for stock or broth. Like risotto.
Original Author: Clare Dougan