The basis of a good soup is usually a good stock. Once you know how to make a good stock, you can use it for an almost endless variety of soups. This is a recipe I use for chicken stock that's easy to make, and tastes delicious. I usually make extra, and freeze what I don't use.
1 Whole Chicken, about 3 pounds
8 cups water
2 carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 stalks of celery, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 medium onion, cut into large chunks
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2-3 sprigs of parsley
1-2 sprigs of sage
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 sprigs of thyme (please, no Simon and Garfunkel jokes)
2 tsp. salt
Cut the chicken up into pieces.
Put the chicken, and the rest of the ingredients into a large kettle, and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer for 3 hours.
Remove the chicken, and place in a bowl to cool.
Pour the stock through a colander lined with cheesecloth, and chill.
When the chicken has cooled enough to handle, remove the skin and the bones, and freeze or refrigerate the chicken for another use.
Skim the fat off of the stock, and refrigerate, freeze, or use immediately.
Yield: About 6 cups of stock, about 4 cups of chicken.
Don't feel constrained by the ingredients and amounts listed in this recipe. You can use other herbs for a different flavor. You could add ginger peels and lemongrass for an Asian flavor. Just let your imagination run wild.
You don't need to use a whole chicken either. You can buy the bone-in chicken breasts, and remove the bones before cooking. Then just put the bones in a plastic bag, and put them into the freezer. Then when you're ready to make the stock, just take the bones out and use them in the stock.
Once you've learned to make this chicken stock, you can use it as a basis for many different soups... chicken noodle soup, cream of chicken soup, peanut butter soup... again, just let your imagination run wild with it, and enjoy!