The Mother of ALL Soups is a fabulous, flavorful, vegetable stock. Easy too. At home all winter I keep it as a refrigerator staple. I frequently use it for luncheon soup when we have a corporate retreat at Yelton Manor Bed and Breakfast too. Quality food, first and foremost!!!
Every season is soup season. ALL kinds of soup from the winter squashes and root vegetables through to spring asparagus. Summer is TOO easy with all the fresh produce coming into the local farms. With beans, or potato, or pasta. Greens like spinach, chard, kale. Broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, caramelized onions, ooh la la!!!
Soup can be made extraordinary every day with a fundamental commitment to a delicious, low-sodium, homemade vegetable broth. Dedicate a day of any/every week when you are home doing laundry, working out, etc (Saturday or Saunday, right?), and make this stock. Then turn it into whatever kind of soup you want, or several different kinds of soup, or as a base for pot pies, all week long, every week.
This makes the house smell SO good! Prep time is about 15 minutes, and it stews for 2 1/2 hours. Straining takes about another 10 minutes and pot/bowl clean-up about another 10 minutes. You should DO this! Grocery store stock, canned OR boxed, even the very highest rated/organic/low-sodium, is simply disgusting compared to this.
Use all organic vegetables for this stock. These are ROOT vegetables, so organic is vital or you will be making up a batch of Pesticide Punch.
The basics, deconstructed: celery, flat leaf parsley, leeks, carrots, peppercorns and course salt, fresh twigs of rosemary and thyme, heads of garlic and bay leaves.
Slice the leeks longways and rinse. Leeks hold a LOT of dirt between their skins.
Cut the tops of the heads of garlic and remove most of the outside paper.
Peel and top the carrots, then slice lengthwise so the optimum area of the vegetable is exposed to the broth.
Into your big soup pan, about 13-16 cups of cold salted water, bring to boil, then simmer 2 1/2 hours. Discard solids and strain the rest.