When it comes to making soup, it’s a long simmer, which develops a deep chicken flavor, that makes it so good.

A stock is strained liquid from cooking vegetables, meat or fish and their bones and seasonings in water. For brown stock, the vegetables and bones are roasted first.

I make a brown stock with any chicken parts and pieces I have squirreled away in the freezer. I scatter thawed pieces on a sided sheet pan along with 1 large coarsely chopped onion, a few peeled and coarsely chopped carrots and two ribs of chopped celery. Place pan in a preheated 425- degree oven for about 45 min-utes or until the pieces are browned. Check to make sure the pan bottom doesn’t burn.

Once the bones and vegetables are browned, transfer them to a large stock pot. Add hot water to pan and scrape any browned bits on the bottom; add those to the pot. Add water to cover all ingredients, about 4 quarts. Add pepper- corns or dried herbs. Heat over medium to a simmer, then reduce to low. Cook about 3 hours, skimming surface of fat or foam. Strain into another pot or container, discarding the solids. Cool completely before refrigerating, then chill uncovered. Once chilled for hours or overnight, skim fat. Season lightly.

Chicken and Rice Soup With Crispy Tortillas

In place of poached chicken, use 3 cups cooked and shredded chicken.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 large onion, peeled, diced

1 large green pepper, diced

2 large chicken breast halves, each cut in half

4 cups water, divided

8 cups (or more as needed) homemade chicken stock or fat-free, less-sodium broth

1 can (28 ounces) stewed tomatoes

1 can (4 ounces) diced green chilies

1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, diced

2 tablespoons chili powder or more to taste

1½ to 2 teaspoons favorite all purpose seasoning

1½ cups cooked Spanish-style rice

Salt to taste

Baked tortilla strips (note)

Shredded Mexican-style cheese, optional

Diced avocado, optional

Directions

In a large stock pot heat oil over medium. Add onion and pepper and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add chicken pieces and 2 cups water. Reduce to a simmer. Cover pot and poach chicken 15 minutes or until tender.

Remove and shred chicken (leave other ingredients in pot). Return shredded chicken to pot. Add remaining 2 cups water, stock, tomatoes, green chilies, chipotle in adobo, chili powder and seasoning. Simmer soup about 45 minutes, uncovered. Season with salt to taste. Add cooked rice. Simmer about 10 minutes.

Top with tortilla strips, (optional) cheese and avocado.

Note: Cut 20 small corn tortillas into ¼-inch strips. Preheat oven to 375. Place strips on sided baking sheet and drizzle with ¼ cup canola oil. Sprinkle with chili powder, (cumin if desired) and salt. Bake about 15 minutes until crispy.