Monday, October 27, 2008

COLD WEATHER COMFORT


Here in Minnesota we had our first snowfall of the year on Sunday! I'm so not ready for Winter. However when I saw the forecast I decided there was only one thing to do and that was to make my Gran's soup. As children we visited every Wednesday and through the cold Winter months there would always be a pot of soup on the stove I can clearly picture us seated around the kitchen table warming ourselves over a plate of the hot homemade soup. My Mum also made this soup and when I got married it was one of the first family recipes I wanted to master. Made me feel home was not too far away, my real comfort food. As far a recipe was concerned there really wasn't one, certainly nothing down on paper, just a collection of root vegetables and pulses added to a good beef stock. In those days the soup bones would be boiled for hours before everything else was added and then it was left to simmer for most of the day, way too time consuming in this day and age. At one time I used a pressure cooker but more recently I decided to try it in the slow cooker. Success. I can now put it all in there and go about my day and when we are ready to eat there it will be, ready and waiting, yum. When I made it this weekend I paid close attention to what I was putting in to give you some idea of how it should go, however please feel free to use whatever veg you please in whatever combination takes your fancy, there is no right or wrong way for this soup. It's going to taste good whatever you put into it.

Soup Bones with meat on
4 med carrots,+ 3 extra (grated)
1/2 med turnip for Scots, swede if you are English and rutabaga for the Americans
2 large potatoes
Peel and chop all the veg into approx 1/2" dice. Save the extra carrots to grate at a later point.
Put the bones and veg into the slow cooker (5 quart) and add 2 cups broth mix.
Cover with water. Season generously with S&P. You will almost certainly have to add more seasoning at the end. I have never got it right first time.
Cook on low for approx 6 hours.
Towards the end of cooking add grated carrots and check seasonings. Stir and leave for another 30 mins.
Remove the bones and strip the meat from the bones and add to soup. I am now so ready to eat my first bowlful. The smell in the kitchen is so reminicent.
You will now have a pot of delicious hot thick soup. My Gran always said the spoon should be able to stand up in it! and it will especially when it has had time to cool.
The first plate is always the best of the season, but also tastes really good next day when all the flavours have melded together.
You will find as it cools it will thicken up but I just add water until I get it how I like it. I even, in the past have added a tin of chopped tomatoes to the last potions to make it go further. This will be enough for 8-10 servings.
I hope you enjoy it as much as our family does. I so enjoy the practice of recipes being handed down from generation to generation and hopefully my children will continue this tradition.

6 comments:

Coby said...

LOL I love your attention to detail with making sure all nations can add the 'right' veg Jacqui! The soup sounds as comforting as it no doubt is. We don't get snow here, but that wouldn't stop me making such a lovely meal:) Do you have preferred pieces of bone for this soup?

Jacqui said...

I use short ribs here as I haven't been able get the shin bone which I used in UK, and the meat on them is really tasty, melting in your mouth after all the cooking. Hope this helps.

Coby said...

It helps a lot thanks Jacqui - I think I have access to shin bones - as long as they're not sold as 'osso bucco' (therefor charged at thrice the price;)).

Kate H. said...

Ohhhhhhhh, that looks good. But I have two questions - did I miss the type of broth you use, or is broth mix something specific?

And I thought in the U.S. we had turnips and rutabagas, so if a rutabaga is a Scottish turnip, then what is a U.S. turnip?

Kate H. said...

Oh, duh - just saw the beef broth.

Still waiting with bated breath on the turnip question.

Jacqui said...

The broth mix is sometimes sold as bean soup mix but this is not quite right, you do get a broth mix which is lentils, barley, split yellow peas and dried peas, although a bean mix will do. What is a turnip in US is a swede in Scotland. Hope this helps.
And to Coby you are so right about osso bucco,but try asking your butcher about the bones, they are usually very helpful.