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Suitable Meats for Making Soup Stock

Updated on December 3, 2012

How to make stock

Good stock is the basis of all good soups, stews and many home-cooked dishes. Making stock is easy and something we should all do to use up left over bones and peelings.

Nowadays the shops are full of the most delicious stock in dried or liquid form, to add to your cooking experience, but I thought I’d share with you today the notes handed down by my grandmother on how to make stock.

Very few people in the Western World make their own stock nowadays, partly due to time constraints, and partly due to the high cost of electricity/gas. In the old days, all the homes had a ‘range’ which burned either wood or coal to heat the household’s water and also to supply heating, so to shove a big pan of water filled with the remains of whatever meat or vegetables the household used onto the hob was at no extra expense.

However, the flavour of home-made stock is amazing.

Soup stocks can be made with meat, or without. If you are making it without meat, use instead the water in which vegetables have been cooked. Pour this into a stock pot rather than throw it away. It can be frozen for later use once it has cooled.

Let, the stock pot, not the brock pail, be the receptacle for the coarser, more nourishing leaves of green vegetables.

General points about making stock

When making meat , poultry or fish stock, always break it up into small pieces, bones and all, before placing in cold water, bringing to boil, and simmer with lid on for at least 3 hours, or in a pressure cooker for 1 hour.

For clear soup, skim well just before boiling point is reached; a little salt or cold water can be added to help the scum to rise.

Vegetables should not be added to stock unless it is for immediate use, as they tend to go sour and spoil it.

The water in which ham or salt beef has been boiled makes an excellent lentil or pea soup, but it should be allowed to cool before use in order to remove the fat.


Any pieces of cooked or uncooked meat or bones should be placed in a pan of water. Allow 1 quart of water for each pound of meat/bones. A quart is roughly 2 pints.

Add vegetable trimmings,

2 carrots,

2 onions,





Simmer for 2 to 3 hours


Into 3 quarts of cold water put a knap bone, broken up,

3 good-sized onions, skins left on,

3 or 4 large carrots, scraped, well washed and cut up into several pieces,

A few bits of Swede turnip,

2 or 3 parsnips, cut up and skin left on

Some kitchen salt,

A dozen black peppercorns

A dozen cloves.

Put all on to boil for 4 or 5 hours, and then strain through a colander. Allow to get quite cold before using, so that the grease may all come to the top where it can be skimmed as required.

Here is a selection of home made soups for winter warmers.

Conversion charts at foot of page.

Scotch broth
Scotch broth


1 quart water

½ lb runner beef (or neck of mutton)

1oz barley

Pepper and salt

½ pint mixed vegetables – turnip, carrot and leek, diced

2 tablespoons grated carrot

1 large teaspoon chopped parsley

Wipe the meat and place in saucepan with measured water, add barley well washed, and salt. Bring to the boil, skim, add diced vegetables, and pepper. Simmer for 2 hours. Half an hour before serving, add grated carrot. Before serving, remove the meat and add chopped parsley. Boil up and serve.

sheep's head broth
sheep's head broth


A sheep’s head

¼ lb pearl barley

1 leek

2oz each carrot, turnip and onion

A bunch of herbs

Pepper and salt

A little ketchup (if liked)

3 to 4 quarts of cold water

To prepare head: Have sheep’s head divided by the butcher; remove the brain and soak it in cold water and vinegar to whiten it. Soak the head in tepid water and salt for half an hour. Scrape small bones from nostrils, cleanse the head thoroughly, and blanch, then rinse.

To make the soup, put cleansed head into a large pan and cover it with water. Add washed barley, bring to boil and skim well. Add diced vegetables, season with salt and pepper and simmer for 3 to 4 hours. When meat is tender, lift out the head and chop up the tongue and pieces of meat. Add these to the soup, or save to make into a separate dish.(see Brain Cakes)

Just before serving, add grated carrot and chopped parsley to the soup as in Scotch Broth.

How to make BRAIN CAKES

Wash and blanch the brains of a sheep and boil them in milk till tender. Skin the sheep’s tongue, chop it up, also the brains and add a cupful of breadcrumbs, seasoning and some chopped parsely. Moisten with beaten egg and make into flat cakes. Dredge with flour, dip in beaten egg then breadcrumbs, and fry until golden brown in hot fat.

cock-a-leekie soup
cock-a-leekie soup


1 boiling fowl

6 leeks, cut up into inch long pieces

2 ozs rice


2 tablespoons grated carrot

1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped

Simmer the fowl in 3 quarts of water for about 1 ½ hours. Add salt and skim well. Add, leeks, carrot and rice, and simmer for another ½ hour. Season to taste, and add parsley prior to serving.

red lentil soup
red lentil soup


1 quart of ham stock

4 ozs of lentils

1 medium sized carrot

Piece of turnip about a quarter of the size of the carrot

1 medium onion

1/2oz dripping or bacon rinds

Pepper and salt

About 1 gill of milk

Melt the dripping in saucepan (or lightly fry the bacon rinds). Toss the washed lentils and vegetables,(which have been prepared and sliced) in the fat until it has been absorbed. Add the stock, pepper and salt. Bring to boil, simmer for about an hour or until all the vegetables are very soft, stirring frequently. When cooked, sieve the soup, add the milk and reheat before serving. Soaked beans or split peas may be substituted for lentils with vegetables purees.If you find your soup too salty, simply add a chopped, diced potato and give it another 15 mins or so to cook.

Diced fried bread should be served alongside.

Conversion chart: 1 quart =2 pints = 4 cups

1 gill = ¼ pint, 5 fluid oz, or 0.142L

‘Turnip’ refers to Scottish turnip, which in England is a Swede, and in the US I believe it is called a rutabaga.

British pints are different to US pints. But the cups I mention here are US, and I think Litres are universal.


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    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 7 years ago from UK

      I love homemade soup too - it's far nicer than anything you can buy in a tin or a packet :)

    • febriedethan profile image

      febriedethan 7 years ago from Indonesia

      I love homemade and old fashioned soup, remind me of my granny's, thank's a lot for sharing this :)

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 8 years ago from UK

      If you've got a hub about that, post it here or email me and I will link it from this hub.

      I also like using Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon in powder form, available from UK supermarkets but alas not here in Spain. It is made entirely from vegetables, spices and herbs. It's only problem is that is can be very salty, so has to be usd sparingly.

    • martycraigs profile image

      martycraigs 8 years ago

      Homemade soup is the best, especially when you take time and use all fresh ingredients. Fellow vegetarians, don't fear! There are plenty of ways to spice and flavor a soup without using meat, bones, or meat stocks.

      Great post, thanks for sharing!

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 8 years ago from UK

      A good tip is to use a tight fitting lid so that none of the goodness escapes, also to get the correct ratio of bones/water. Good luck and thanks:)

    • karirosepink profile image

      karirosepink 8 years ago from Oregon

      Thanks for sharing, good info! I attempted homemade stock for the 1st time recently and didn't really know what I was doing and it turned out pretty bland, so I'll use some of your tips and try again!

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 8 years ago from UK


      And thanks for the comments:)

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      It's a cold time here in Wisconsin on yet another first day of winter, and soups are all the rage in my house until spring hits. I always try to cook from scratch, mainly because of the cost savings AND flavorful surprise. It always, to me anyway, tastes much better from the pot than from the can. I will definitely be interested in putting a couple of these recipes to good use.

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 8 years ago from UK

      You're welcome:)

      And wow! that is some coincidence!

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 8 years ago

      I can't believe this. I was going to go online to find out this information - got sidetracked by your HubNugget Nomination (contrats), and went searching more of your hubs because I liked what I read. Lo and behold. Here is what I came on to look for! Small world!

      Thank you for sharing this (it's bookmarked)

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 8 years ago from UK

      Thanks Dal:)

      I thought it a good idea to put this up for future generations before it is lost forever.

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 8 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Another page to book mark for future references. Nice one IzzyM

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 8 years ago from UK

      So do I LOL I keep making recipes up, but the ones here are genuine and old-fashioned so they are the best!

      Wouldn't know where to buy a sheep's head, all the same...

    • tantrum profile image

      tantrum 8 years ago from Tropic of Capricorn

      Thanks for the recipes !! I love soups !! Cheers ! :)