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Monday, February 13, 2006 

Soup's on: The basics

Emily Seftel of the Arizona Republic has been taking some cooking classes from Kitchen Classics in Phoenix. This past week she learned a lot about the making of soup from scratch. That would include making the stock from a carcass.

Here are some of the tips she got from the instructor:

• The basic principles for stock: Start the stock in cold water. Bring to a boil, then simmer it gently. Skim it frequently and strain it carefully when it has finished cooking. Cool it quickly in an ice bath to help keep it fresh longer.

• The best bones for beef and veal stock are from younger animals. Shank bones are the most easily accessible.

• The best bones for chicken stock are from the neck and back, which contain many small bones.

• The best bones for fish stock are from lean fish such as sole, flounder and whiting.

• When adding vegetables to stock, a good ratio is 50 percent onions, 30 percent carrots and 20 percent celery.