Earlier this week, we talked about the three basic steps for creating a great pot of soup. Of course, equally as important is making sure you have a good stock pot big enough for comfortably cooking all of your ingredients.
I have tried and failed to make soup in a too-small pot. I’m a big fan of the shallow, rondeau pots that are so great for making pasta or using in place of a wok, and I have many times mistakenly assumed I could use mine in place of a soup pot. Do not do this, especially if you’re trying to make a big batch. Although it may seem big enough, the shallow sides make it easy to create a huge mess and more work than is necessary.
Instead, go ahead and get you a nice big stock pot: a 12-quart is a good size for starters, and make sure it’s covered. You can get one for about $50, less if you look in a discount or second-hand store. Having at least one, at least that big, is a necessary addition to your kitchen if you want to make soups, stews, or chili.
Why is it a worthy investment? Economy. Soup is one of the most scalable meals—it doesn’t take much extra effort to make twice as much, which you can then can or freeze or send in thermoses with the kids to school. If you splurge once for a nice, big stock pot, you’ll get much more room to make a big batch.
You can also use a sizable stock pot for other things, like sterilizing, boiling crabs or lobsters, or processing canned goods. Some stock pots are multipurpose and come with stackable inserts that you can also use for steaming, like this one.
No matter which you choose, I rate the stock pot a must-have. No more guesswork about whether you can fit that whole chicken, no more spilling over the sides, and lots more room to make lots more soup.