Melissa Clark on Stocks and Soups

Friday, January 25, 2013

New York Times Dining Section columnist and cookbook writer Melissa Clark talks about stocks—how to make them and how to use them to make soups and stews. Her most recent cookbook is Cook This Now: 120 Easy and Delectable Dishes You Can't Wait to Make.


Melissa Clark

Comments [28]


Vegetarian - Melissa Clark has a nice one - also Deborah Madison has good ideas too - or if you're like me and eat fish (but not meat) a good fish broth is a great thing - the original point of making broth was the gelatin from boiling the bones and head for hours - for making soups and sauces. I started making fish broth from Craig Claiborne's basic recipe. Sally Fallon has interesting things to say about broth.

Feb. 07 2013 07:47 PM
Lisa B. from NJ

Question about the "stocks" interview, which I listened to. Melissa said that she often uses chicken feet as the base for her stock. So I cringed and bought them. I made the stock, and it jellied nicely, but I don't think it smells that great. Do you think that's normal for chicken stock? Shouldn't it smell delicious???

Jan. 29 2013 10:53 AM
Rob Schoenbaum from Stockholm

Popovers. Any advice how one can make popovers with a thin, crispy shell and minimum of "bread" on the inside? Thanks!

Jan. 26 2013 06:53 AM

For the man with chickpeas: make humus.

Jan. 25 2013 01:16 PM

You are suggesting that all kinds of vegetables may be addded to soups and stocks. Please tell your listeners not to use rhubarb leaves as these contain oxalic acid. This was inadverdently suggested by the British government during the war when things were very scarce. Unfortunately rhubarb leaves are fatal.

Jan. 25 2013 12:43 PM
Len from Westchester

Years ago Raymond Sokolov wrote a wonderful book called "The Saucier's Apprentice".
The first instruction was, "Get yourself a pot big enough to poach a small child."

Jan. 25 2013 12:39 PM
Elaine from Baltimore

I've seen ground bay leaf. Safe to eat? Is it as good as the whole leaf?

Also, saving the vege scraps, I'm a germaphobe... might I assume cooking for hours will kill anything threatening? ;-)

Jan. 25 2013 12:35 PM
Whitney from Trumbull, CT

I add corn cobs to the lobster stock for sweetness!

Jan. 25 2013 12:35 PM
Jenn from Jersey City

For the man who wanted to know what to do with all the chickpeas, this is a delicious and easy soup!

3 garlic cloves, minced
3 dried hot red chiles, chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 cups crushed canned tomatoes, with juice
1/2 cup drained jarred roasted red peppers, rinsed
3 1/2 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought vegetable broth
Sour cream, for serving
Parsley sprigs, for garnish


Using a mortar and pestle or the back of a spoon, crush garlic, chiles, salt, and caraway to form a paste.

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic mixture, and cook until just softened, about 3 minutes.

Stir in chickpeas, tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and broth. Simmer, stirring often, for 15 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Working in batches, puree soup in a blender. Rewarm if necessary. Divide among bowls, and top each with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of parsley.

Jan. 25 2013 12:35 PM
uscdadnyc from Queens Ny

The Bones/Carcass of a Soy Sauce Chicken are great for making Stock or Rice Congee.
Soy Sauce Chicken Recipe: 1. Clean Chicken, remove Pop-up Timer and Giblet Bag. 2. Put chicken (Breast Side Down)in Large Pot, add Soy Sauce -enough to barely cover the bird. 3.Bring to Boil then reduce to Rolling Boil (just above Simmering) -leave for 0.5 Hour. 4. After the 0.5 Hour, turn over the chicken (Breast side is now UP). 5. Continue for another 0.5 Hour.
One can toss the Chicken Liver in during last 5 minutes if you want. Save the Soy Sauce, put in Glass Bottle(s), leave in Refrig. Skim Fat, you can use the Soy Sauce Again

Jan. 25 2013 12:34 PM
ruth marshall from bronx

hi I'm a vegan and I juice a lot, can I use the leftover pulp? I just juiced some kale, is this good for soups? Thanks!!

Jan. 25 2013 12:33 PM
Gretel from Westchester

I make my stock once a week-I freeze all appropriate scraps all week... then roast a chicken , clean it
Toss in the scraps from the week- voila- 5 quarts of stock a week- which echo the Flavor and herbs of the week

Jan. 25 2013 12:33 PM
Amy from Manhattan

A caller made veal stock? Does she know how horribly those calves are treated?

Jan. 25 2013 12:32 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

Abby - you mean a demi glace?
Yes--there are several brands available that are shelf-stable (though I can't imagine the quality--I buy a brand I throw in the freezer). Just Google "shelf-stable demi glace."

Jan. 25 2013 12:31 PM
Hank from Brooklyn

After the stock is made do you have any ideas for using the pulp that is left over; rather than throwing it away?

Jan. 25 2013 12:29 PM
Yuri from Peekskill

What are Ms Clark's thoughts on using a pressure cooker?

Jan. 25 2013 12:28 PM
Michael from Green Wood Heights, Brooklyn

I've had a very difficult time turning vegetable stock into an appropriately thick demi-glace. Is there a trick?

Jan. 25 2013 12:27 PM
Abby from Manhattan

I make stock all the time (I'm a chef and in a restaurant kitchen I have the luxury of time to always have a pot going). I was interested to read about a very reduced "bone broth" that is gelatinous and shelf stable, i.e. you don't need to refrigerate it. Has Melissa heard of this?

Jan. 25 2013 12:26 PM
Amy from Manhattan

If a certain ingredient makes the stock too strong, just dilute it! More is better, right? If that makes too much, you can freeze what you don't use.

Jan. 25 2013 12:23 PM
Linda from Jersey Shore

I roast any old bone for stock, lamb, beef, pork, chicken.. you name it. I also make fresh sofrito and fresh parsley in olive oil that I freeze in ice cube trays, then trow into the stock pot. Always leave the skin on onions for a darker stock and any veg that will hold up. yum.

Jan. 25 2013 12:22 PM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

How much should you reduce a stock? Is there a meat/bone to water ratio?

Jan. 25 2013 12:21 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Save a step: Anytime you boil or simmer anything, use the water for stock. I even put pasta water in soup.

On chicken gizzards, back when I ate meat, I would have thought it was a waste to put gizzards in a stock--I'd just eat them!

Jan. 25 2013 12:17 PM
MC from Long Island City

In Chinese cuisine, often dried conch or other shellfish are used to add flavor, even in meat-based broths. Does this overwhelm other flavors or can it enhance them?

Jan. 25 2013 12:16 PM

Two comments: First I've started adding a big knob of ginger root - - it really packs an extra punch and feels so healthy during cold and flu season. Also stocks are perfect for the pressure cooker. Dump it all in and bring up to full steam for 20 - 30 minutes and you're done.

Jan. 25 2013 12:16 PM
Leo from Queens

Older chickens (Hens) have a better flavor and in Latin cultures the preference is to make a chicken soup or stew using a hen. The meat tends to be a bit more muscular and tougher, but tastier. They can be found in ethnic markets and live poultry places.

Jan. 25 2013 12:13 PM
Marie from Brooklyn

Noooooooooooooo, you can't just throw any old bone into the stock. More is not better. And lamb chop bones are not going to improve chicken stock.

And a heavy hand with garlic - a whole head is perfect, leave the skin on - no need to peel and chop.

I use a whole raw, chicken and cook the stick for an hour and a half. Yes, you can eat the meat. Make sandwiches, make chicken fricassee, make tacos.

Jan. 25 2013 12:12 PM
uscdadnyc from Queens NY

Soup Tip: When making BBQ Ribs, I par-boil the Ribs in a Pot w/ Water b/f Grilling the Ribs. Save the Liquid. Skip the Fat off. Add Watercress to make Watercress Soup.

Jan. 25 2013 12:12 PM
Syd from East Village

Do you have any suggestions for vegetarian stocks?

Jan. 25 2013 12:08 PM

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