Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Making Soup

Always thrifty and usually delicious!

I had a person ask me about making broth.  He may have been thinking bone broth but I decided to go with how I make brothy soup.

Here it is:

How to make brothy soup.

You don’t have to boil bones forever to get broth.  You can, but there are other ways.  Pretty much when you boil anything you get broth.  The issue is whether it is delicious.

So, here’s a basic soup recipe that will have a nice delicious broth:

1)    Dice up an onion.  Smaller than you think you can.  Now dice it even smaller
2)    Chop up a stick of celery (if you used a big onion, use a big celery).  Now chop it smaller.
3)    Chop up a carrot or 2 (if you used a big onion, use a big carrot or two).  Chop it really small.  Then chop it smaller.  (the mix of onion, carrot and celery for soup is called “mirepoix” and pronounced “MEER-uh-pwah”)
4)    Smash some garlic.  As much as you like.
5)    Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a soup pot.  3quarts minimum size so you have room to stir.  If you want more soup, use a bigger pot.
6)    Saute’ the chopped veg and garlic low and slow.  For quite a while.  Like until the veggies are pretty mushy and the onion turns yellow/golden. If you’re in a hurry, fry it hotter.  It will be good but not as umami.
7)    Add water.  About a quart or 2. If you add boiling water, you’ll be happier but cold water will work.
8)    Add a bay leaf and any other herbs/spices you think would be nice.
9)    Add more veggies.  If you’re feeling lazy, use a bag of frozen mixed veg that you have thawed out (unless you forgot to thaw it out, in that case, add it frozen).  If you’re not feeling lazy, use the time while the onion/celery/etc mixture saute’s to clean and chop veggies.  Chop hard veggies smaller than soft veggies.  E.g. potato or sweet potato in a small size will cook in the same time as broccoli tops in a big dice.  If you want to add bok choy or spinach, wait until you are almost ready to serve the soup.  Like the last 10 minutes.
10)    If you want noodles, put those in and cook as long as the package says.  OR you can cook them separately and throw them in at the end or even put them in the bowls and put the soup over them.
11)    Eat.

To use LEFTOVER MEAT in the soup dice it up and throw it in when you put in the other veggies.
To use FRESH MEAT in the soup, chop it up and saute’ it with some oil it in the pan you want to use for the soup.  When it’s cooked, take out the meat and put it in a bowl.  Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the oil/grease but DO NOT scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom. Then, start with step 1 and put the meat back in when you are putting in the water and the veggies.  Scrape the crusties off the bottom of the pan as you saute’ the onion/etc and as you stir the soup.

Use any meat.  Use any veggies.  It’s all good.

If you have bones in left over chicken or turkey or whatever, throw the bones and skin in the crockpot. Add water until it is 1 inch below the top edge of the crockpot.  Put in a couple tablespoons of vinegar if you have it (it dissolves some calcium and gelatin out of the bones/skin and makes a richer broth).  If you don’t have it, don’t worry about it.  Let it cook at least overnight or all day.
Skim the scum off a few times when you think of it, but mostly just leave it alone and leave the lid on.

Take out the bones and skin and meat bits.  Pick the meat bits off and throw in a bowl.  Throw out the bones and skin.

If you chill the broth before eating it, you can lift the fat off the top when it hardens.  If you want to use it right way, throw in your veggies, herbs, and whatever else you want (including a saute’d onion mixture and the pan crusties from that) and the meat you picked off the carcass.  Let it all heat through for an hour or two, or for ages.  It will be even better the next day if you have leftover soup and reheat it.
If soup is bland, add a teaspoon of lemon juice or fancy vinegar when you serve it up in a bowl.  It will do wonders.

If you want to make soup in a crockpot and not dirty a pan on the stove frying the veggies, just throw them in the crockpot. It will work.  You can chop them bigger for the crockpot because you’ll be cooking them for ages. Throw in everything but greens/spinach/noodles right at the beginning.  Put those in 30 minutes or so before you are ready to eat.  I prefer not to put raw meat in the crockpot, but other people do it and they don’t die.  It just doesn’t taste as yummy as fried or left over meat. 

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