As a kid, my mom would always have a soup day the day after a turkey dinner. After everyone had had their fill of delicious turkey with all the fixings, she would clean all of the meat off the bones, and save the carcass for the start of her turkey soup. It's a familiar scene from my childhood and one that I treasure.
Then I grew up. Just like my mom, I started saving bones from chicken meals and then freezing them until I wanted to make soup. Then, on soup day, I would buy my veggies, chop them up and toss them in a big pot alongside the chicken, water, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. I'd make soup with it just like my mom.
To me, this was simply just the way to make chicken soup. It took me a while to understand how having chicken stock on hand was so beneficial to my cooking acumen. There are so many recipes that call for stock and one day it hit me that I should just make big batches of broth and freeze it until I needed it. It was a game changer! Not only was it cheap to make, but it was so much better than store-bought stock.
But let's back up, this post is titled FREE Soup Stock not cheap. So here it is. A few years ago, I was watching a cooking series called, "The Mind of a Chef" where the chef being featured was talking about how we toss about 20% of our vegetables every time we cook. Things like carrot peels, parsley stems, onion peels and ends all end up as waste. We discard them because they have the wrong texture or look, but that doesn't mean that they don't contain the same flavor. That's when I decided to start saving my food scraps.
If you look in my freezer, you will often find a bag with just veggie scraps and another with bones. I save it all. Then when I have enough to fill a five-gallon stock pot, and my current stash is gone, I make soup stock.
I know this post says Free Soup Stock Recipe, but really it's more of a formula. Put a whole bunch of yumminess in a pot of water and simmer it until it tastes how you like it.
Every time I make a batch, it's a bit different. If I'm using fish bones, for example, that break down rather quickly, then I'll only cook it for an hour or so. But if its bones from chicken, pork or beef, I've had some that simmered for a full 24 hours.
If you want further guidance, just google it. You'll have a bunch of recipes to guide you. My advice? Be creative. One of the best soups I ever made was a chicken tortilla soup. The soup stock for that batch contained the bones of a smoked turkey. It was amazing.
So, keep those bits of zucchini and fennel fronds. Don't toss your leftover cilantro or kale stems. That right there is flavor begging to be used, and the best part, it's free.