Leave it to the great Beethoven to mix morality with soup. (A tall order for his distressed servants, no doubt!)
Allow me to be “pure-hearted” here and share a recipe that represents a key nutritional foundation with a symphony of possibilities. This soup base is the foundation of every well prepared soup imaginable. Plus, it is free of MSG and preservatives that flavor many store-bought broths and soups.
I start with roasted bones and end with a gorgeous stock. I find that the most delicious and nourishing stocks are those made from a variety of bones, so plan to save your roast chicken, roast beef, pork, lamb, buffalo and rabbit.
Here’s what else you’ll need:
4 lbs (approximately) of bones (carcass, head, feet, cartilage, antlers, etc)
4 or more quarts cold, filtered water
½ cup vinegar, distilled or raw
2 apples, halved
3 onions, halved
3 celery stalks, halved
3 carrots, halved
Several sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tsp dried green peppercorns, crushed (optional)
1 bunch parsley (optional)
Once your roast has been served, add approximately 4 quarts of water to the roasting pan and scrape the bottom to infuse the drippings into the mix. Toss in any additional bones, heads, feet, etc. and add the remaining ingredients. Be sure that the bones are covered. If not, add more water.
I like to include apples and onions because they impart a sweeter aroma to a stock that might smell gamey otherwise. Vinegar is necessary to draw out the calcium, magnesium and zinc from the bones and render the bone stock more nutritious.
Then, set the pot to simmer for 12-72 hours. Skim off the scum and discard. The pot can remain on the flames for an entire 72 hours or turned off nightly, left at room temperature and reignited in the morning. Once strained, the stock can be frozen.
While it’s still on the stove, this stock can be used as a base for a myriad of soups. You might find that the stock doesn’t have a particularly appealing aroma but it will taste delicious after it’s strained and used to cook with.
With this base, you can offer “medicine in a bowl” in tandem with the other, family-pleasing meals you serve day after day.