When it comes to making soup, I always think of my father’s chicken soup: Take a big pot, add onions, carrots and celery. Add one big chicken and water to cover. Simmer for hours.
It’s that long simmer, which develops a deep chicken flavor, that made it so good.
Soups need a good base. A stock is strained liquid from cooking vegetables, meat or fish and their bones and seasonings in water. It’s easy to make your own.
I make brown stock with chicken parts I have squirreled away in the freezer.
I scatter the pieces on a sheet pan with 1 large coarsely chopped onion, a few peeled and coarsely chopped carrots and two stalks of chopped celery. Place the pan in a preheated 425-degree oven for 45 minutes or until the pieces are browned.
Transfer browned bones and vegetables to a stock pot. Pour off any grease. Add hot water to the pan and scrape browned bits; add those to the pot.
Add water to cover all ingredients, about 4 quarts. Add a few peppercorns or bouquet garni. Heat over medium to a simmer, then reduce heat to low. Cook about 3 hours, skimming any fat or foam.
Strain into another container, discarding the solids. Cool before refrigerating, then chill uncovered. Once chilled for several hours or overnight, remove any fat. Season lightly before using.