Thursday, 26 January 2012

Recipe Thursday, Making Soup From Scratch

Soup is one of those varied and simple meals that is a staple in our house all winter. It is so simple and such a money saving meal! I estimate the cost is between $3 or $5 for a pot of soup that lasts for two meals for two people, however, if you have a garden or have preserved some of your own veggies and have home raised meat or wild game the cost is only whatever you might spend on spices. Just by changing up the ingredients or spices a new version, and therefore taste, is created. While often I will create a soup on the spot, my favorites are always when I start from scratch with a soup bone. Soup bones don't seem to be used that often nowadays as so many families want a meal that can be put on the table in 30 minutes or less, yet, although it may take all day to prepare the actual time spent making a scratch soup is negligible, especially if you use a crock pot or have a wood stove to place the pot on while it simmers away all day.

The first thing you need to do is find a source to purchase your soup bones from. Check out your local butcher shop, so many bones go to waste you can probably pick them up for a very reasonable price. Make sure you get them cut to a size that will fit in your soup pot!

Below you will find my recipe for Scratch Soup but be warned! Once you get started making soup from scratch you may never go back!

Scratch Bone Soup
1 soup bone
1 or 2 bay leaves
5 or 6 cups water
1/2 cup dried beans
2 or 3 carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 large onion
1/2 cup brown rice

Night before: Take soup bone from freezer and thaw in refrigerator. If desired (for extra protein) take about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of dried beans and cover with about 2 cups water. Leave to soak until morning. I use a lot of dried beans in my recipes. They are extremely economical and nutritious.

In the morning: (usually before 9am but is isn't an exact science) place soup bone and beans (drained and rinsed) in soup pot or crock pot. Cover with approximately 5 to 6 cups of water or amount needed to nicely cover the bone. Add one or two bay leaves and about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set pot to simmering. If you are working and want to use a crock pot go ahead. Put everything in and leave it to do its thing.

I actually used two bones. One would have been enough but Mountain Man likes a lot of protein.

Leave this to simmer until about 1.5 hour before you plan on eating dinner or supper depending on what you call your evening meal. The beans need that time to soften and the broth will only taste better for the long simmer. If your pot get a bit of a scummy foam on top just scoop it out with a spoon and discard it.

Final Step: (1.5 hrs before meal time)

Remove soup bone and place in plate to cool, remove bay leaves and discard. Cut up veggies and add to pot along with the brown rice which takes an hour to cook. Just because I used certain vegetables doesn't mean you have to.  Make it yours. That is what is so wonderful about making things from scratch! Everyone has different likes and dislikes! You could use potatoes instead of rice. Add different veggies such as cabbage, peas, tomatoes or corn. Maybe you like barley in your soup or lentils. Think of the best tasting soups you've had and what was in them. Once you have the base the rest is all up to you. 

Now that you have your veggies in the pot simmering its time to think about spices. Since we are using a red meat soup bone and not chicken, duck or turkey we need to use spices which will compliment it. Typically you would want to use more fragrant and pungent spices for red meat. I used garlic powder, tarragon, thyme and basil along with some cayenne pepper and freshly ground black pepper. We love spices so I often make a fairly spicy soup. Taste it after a bit and add more of what you think it might need including salt or a seasoning salt. Cut or pull the meat off the soup bone and cut to bite size then add back to the soup. Let it simmer until the veggies are tender and rice is done, then serve with some nice bread or buns. YUM!


  1. Looks Great! I know where we are going for dinner, lol

  2. I love soup! I never add beans to mine except for when I make chili. I will have to add them next time.


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