Sunday, September 11, 2011

Inspired by soup stock

This rainy cool weather chills us to the bone.  Friday morning we were hastily picking beans, greens and tomatoes in the rain - trying to get it all in before the weather turned worse.  Even though the radar was clear, we had a steady rain.  The kind that trickles into your boots, in through the seams in your coat through to your neck.  The kind that just keeps seeping through the layers until your inner layers are wet.  Sheryl had her rain pants but had left her jacket at home.  She worked until she was too cold to go on.  So we broke at 11:45 for lunch.  I changed my clothes and gave Sheryl a top to wear - she had a sweatshirt in the car to add.  Nick called his Grandma who, graciously, brought him a change of pants.  We had broth, a hot meal and got ready to do it all over again.  Luckily the rain subsided and we were able to work the rest of the day in relatively dry conditions.

Wednesday was similar.  That night I pulled a stewing hen (actually just a leg/thigh) out of the freezer and started a broth.  I added ginger, garlic, onions, bay leaves, and thyme.  Some salt, pepper, maybe something else, can't remember.  I cooked it overnight on a very slow simmer.  It provided a nice pick-me-up on Friday.  The meat was nicely cooked - very tender for a stewing hen.

Tonight I finished the day to find a thawed beef roast on the counter.  Dave was still out working with the animals so I thought I'd get things going.  There were also 3 packages of pork blade steaks in the sink.  So, I decided to prepare the beef for tomorrow night, following a slow-cook recipe from The River Cottage Meat Book.  I was left with the bone and fatty pieces so I pulled some soup bones out of the freezer, added the pork bones to the mix and am now making stock.

This brings me to the point.  To make this stock, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recommends certain ingredients.  I ran around the yard collecting everything - a few bay leaves, some onions & carrots, parsley, thyme, celery, maybe a leek and whatever else you want to add to accentuate your stock.  So I now have the idea about adding a "soup stock bag" to the holiday box.  A mix of all of these items that you can throw into a pot and add (or not) some meat to cook down and prepare your own stock or soup.  You can use it immediately or jar it up in pint jars to use throughout the year (I process with a pressure cooker).  Let me know if this is of interest to you.

Until later. Stay warm & dry and feed yourselves well.