“There’s almost nothing that’s more comforting and nourishing than homemade stock,” Lakshmi says.
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Padma Lakshmi on a designed background
Credit: Getty Images / Kelly Sullivan

With the temperatures dropping lower, nothing sounds better than a steamy cup of soup. We're whipping up all kinds of comforting bowls this winter, from classic Italian Wedding Soup to cozy, creamy mushroom soups. But no matter what kind of delish soup we make, we typically start with the same ingredient: a flavorful stock or broth.

You could always pick up a carton of broth in the grocery store, but making a broth in your own kitchen gives you the opportunity to incorporate all the flavors you love most, control the sodium and spice levels, and clean out all the veggies in your crisper drawer. If you're looking for a recipe for inspiration, Padma Lakshmi just shared her go-to chicken stock method, and commenters are obsessed with it.

Lakshmi's recipe starts with half of a raw chicken, though Lakshmi says you could use a whole chicken in its place, plus bell peppers, fennel, shallots, carrots and celery. While Lakshmi finely chops some of these ingredients, she clarifies that finely dicing your ingredients isn't a must, though it may be helpful if you decide to make soup with the ingredients when you're done. Lakshmi also adds ginger, black garlic, rosemary, makrut leaf, star anise, fresh turmeric, garlic cloves, bay leaves and whole black peppercorns. For a final flourish, she sprinkles in some Persian dried limes.

"Homemade stock is so delicious, and it's so easy to do," Lakshmi says in the video. "It's really a forgiving thing."

Place your ingredients in the pot and add water until the water level reaches the top of your pile of veggies, chicken and seasonings. Bring the water to a boil and let it simmer for at least 45 minutes. Lakshmi says you can let this simmer for hours more, as long as you check on it at regular intervals. Lakshmi removes the chicken once it's cooked, but adds that you can keep cooking the broth and adding more veggies for as long as you like.

If you'd rather use what you have on hand, Lakshmi says that ingredients like the black garlic and makrut leaf aren't strictly necessary, though they're sure to pack in lots of flavor. Ingredients like the fresh turmeric, peppercorns and garlic will add an anti-inflammatory boost to your broth, which could help you get better sleep, lose weight or even improve your skin health. You may appreciate those anti-inflammatory ingredients even more than usual in the winter, since cold weather might actually make your inflammation worse

Once you've got a pot of stock on your hands, Lakshmi suggests using it to make a cozy chicken soup with the veggies and meat. Just strain the solids out of your stock and chop your cooked ingredients to the consistency you prefer in a soup. You'll probably want to throw away some of the ingredients, like the celery leaves and some whole peppercorns, but making a chicken soup will help you use up some of the tasty veggies left behind.

Try using the broth in delicious soups like our Chicken & Spinach Soup with Fresh Pesto or Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup with Kale for an extra-homemade dinner. As Padma says, "every recipe you make with this broth will be so much more delicious because it's made from your hands."