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I prefer to make my own flavorful stocks (broths) using organic ingredients and freeze them for soups and sauces. This recipe is one of my favorites, found in a Martha Stewart Living magazine over 16 years ago. This particular stock is particularly good for Asia soups. Just add your favorite Asian noodles and vegetables (cook the noodles separately). I like to add fried tofu, beef and fish balls (both found in your local Chinese grocery store), suey choy or bok choy and daikon. I rarely make the recipe as written. Instead, I use it as a guide and just use whatever I currently have in the fridge and pantry, or whatever happens to be fresh in the garden.

Asian Chicken Stock

2 lbs chicken necks and back

1 chicken (about 3 ½ lbs)

2 large leeks, white and green parts only

½ ounce dried Chinese mushrooms

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups Japanese sake or white wine

3 celery stalks, chopped

2 large onions, peeled and quartered

1 sweet potato, peeled and diced

2 parsnips, scrubbed and coarsely chopped

1 head garlic, cut in half widthwise

½ acorn squash, peeled and diced

½ lb shitake mushrooms, stems attached, cut in half

4 ounces fresh ginger, thinly sliced

1 stalk fresh lemongrass, thinly sliced

3 large carrots, scrubbed and chopped

For the Bouquet Garni:

1o pieces flat-leafed parsley

10 sprigs fresh cilantro, including stem and roots

10 whole black peppercorns

10 whole Szechuan peppercorns

1 whole coriander seeds

2 whole star anise

Remove excess fat from the chicken. Cut the chicken into quarters and rinse with cold water.

Cut the leeks in half lengthwise and slice into 1-inch lengths. Place the leeks in a bowl and fill with cold water. Allow to soak for 5-10 minutes to rid them of dirt and sand. Lift them out of the water and set aside.

Place the dried mushroom in a small bowl and add 1 cup of very hot water. Let sit until the mushrooms soften, about 20 minutes. Lift the mushrooms out of the liquid and set aside in a bowl. Reserve the liquid.

Make a bouquet garni by arranging the ingredients in the center of a piece of cheesecloth and tying with cotton kitchen string. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a 12-quart pot over medium low heat. Add all vegetables except the ginger and lemongrass. Cook until the vegetables begin to soften, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Increase heat to high, add the sake and reduce by half, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken parts, reserved mushroom liquid and the bouquet garni. Cover with 4 quarts of cold water. Bring to a boil, skim and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 2 hours, 15 minutes. Add ginger and lemongrass and simmer for 45 more minutes. Remove pot from heat and allow to cool for 20 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve. Store in refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.