Of soups and stocks

“The single biggest danger in business and life, other than outright failure, is to be successful without being resolutely clear about why you are successful in the first place.”

– Robert Burgelman, Stanford University Professor

And the reverse is true. Knowing what went wrong is also terribly important. Since I started cooking 5 months ago, I have made three batches of chicken stock and three types of Western style soups, each yielding varying levels of success. I shall try to examine what went right and what went wrong.

First time stock:

Super enthusiastic. I used chicken bones, chicken wings, carrot(s), celery, a yellow onion and garlic. I also boiled/simmered this batch the longest and remember cursing myself because I had to stay up late to wait for it to cool. However, the stock had a nice gelatinous texture after refrigeration.

From the stock, I made: Roasted Cauliflower soup

Despite using no dairy products, it was still creamy and tasted alright.

Second time stock:

I used chicken wings, chicken feet (ooh collagen!), a carrot, celery, a yellow onion, garlic and the last of some old parsley I had.  The stock also had a gelatinous texture and my dad thought it was bird’s nest when I was spooning it out to use. However, this stock was not as sweet smelling as the first time, probably because I used fewer vegetables.


From the stock, I made: Carrot soup

It might be my bias for young ginger and perhaps because I was sick around this time, but I drank it for dinner, breakfast and lunch. Anddd, I didn’t tire of it. Weird but true. Not sure if I could have gone another meal just drinking it and eating bread though. Despite sticking to the recipe, it didn’t seem very right and took many dollops of butter and evaporated milk to get this to taste better.


Third time stock:

By this time, I could better estimate the time I take when making stock. I used chicken bones and chicken feet, one carrot, half a red onion, half a rib of old celery and three cloves of smashed garlic. I didn’t use half as many vegetables as the previous rounds but I think the main difference was the lack of gelatinous texture in the stock, and I attribute this to the lack of chicken wings.

From the stock, I made: Creamy Broccoli soup

Broccoli soup

I haven’t drunk it yet because I usually make soup to store for later consumption on weekdays. I was slightly disappointed with the results because the broccoli wasn’t cheap ($5.29) and the heavy cream I specially bought ($3.6) did not do much to enhance the soup in a way I had hoped it would. It just made the soup feel fattening, to me. HAHA. Perhaps, it would taste better for dinner tonight.

One mistake I made, was to throw in the flour before the butter melted so it kinda coagulated & clumped into flour balls. I should have tried to break down these flour balls before adding the milk in.



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