It’s soup weather. Nothing is more comforting on a cold, gray day than a steamy bowl of homemade soup. And to make good soup, you need good stock. Sure, you can buy the kind in cans and cartons, but who knows what’s in there? Plus, making your own is so easy and inexpensive. To start, take a chicken or turkey carcass (great word, isn’t it?), or a whole small fryer and put it in a stock pot. (You could substitute the bone from a ham, or go vegetarian and leave out the meat entirely.) Add water about halfway up the pot. Toss in 3-4 whole carrots, 4-5 ribs of celery with tops, a few peeled garlic cloves and a large onion or two, peeled and cut in quarters. I like to add a bay leaf, thyme and some sage at this point, and a big pinch of salt and pepper, but that’s up to your taste. You can always add herbs and seasonings to your soup later. Now bring to a boil, reduce heat to barely simmering and cover. Cook for at least two hours…longer is better. Be sure to check on the stock every so often to make sure the liquid is not boiling away. You want it to reduce a bit to concentrate the flavors, but you don’t want to burn it. Now turn off the heat and let it cool. Strain and reserve the liquid stock. Skim fat from the top, if desired. Store the stock in the freezer in plastic bags or ice cube trays to use as needed. Now for the bonus! Take the veggies from your pot, plus a little of the stock and puree’ with a pinch of salt and pepper. Soup!