Thursday, December 9, 2010

Soup's On

     I made soup tonight. The only soup I'd made before was ham & bean, and I'd only made that a couple of times. Making soup is kind of a long process, and you end up with this huge amount of soup. When you live alone, you can end up eating soup for days and still have a bunch to freeze. A few weeks ago, I got an email from Borders saying they were giving me free $10 in Borders bucks, but the offer expired just a few days later. I ended up using it to buy a copy of The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. It's a fun book, full of recipes for food mentioned in the books and also some typical and traditional British dishes. There are recipes for cauldron cakes, pumpkin pasties, pork pies, and even homemade marshmallows.

     As I was looking through the book, I came across a recipe for Scotch Broth. My mom used to love Campbell's Scotch Broth, but they stopped carrying it in any of the local grocery stores. When I saw the recipe, I thought that it might be a treat for her if I made it. I made it the first time on Thanksgiving. My mom had to work, and so I went over to the hospital at lunchtime and had turkey dinner with her. I knew she'd be hungry when she got home and though soup would be good for dinner. It turned out really well. My mom really liked it, though she said it didn't taste like the one made by Campbell's.

     This is one recipe I followed strictly. As I mentioned, I don't have much experience making soup, so I wanted to make sure I followed the recipe (that way if it didn't turn out, I could blame the recipe, lol). The recipe calls for lamb or beef chuck, but it's traditionally made with lamb or mutton, and since we like lamb in our family, I deboned some lamb chops and cubed the meat. Also in the recipe are barley, onions, carrots, celery, turnip, leeks, garlic, cabbage, and fresh parsley. The base is chicken broth. The process was to brown the lamb on high heat then remove it to a plate, and then cook the onions in the same pan. Then you add the broth, barley, salt, and add the meat back in. That has to cook for an hour and a half. Then you add the vegetables (except for the cabbage and parsley) and the garlic and simmer for another hour. Finally, add the cabbage and parsley and cook for an additional 30 minutes. This is not a quick soup. Cooking time alone is 3+ hours, and that doesn't count the initial prep of the meat (I think the deboning took me almost half an hour.) and onions. The rest of the veggies can be prepped during the first stage of cooking.

     However, all the work is worth it. The soup turns out thick and creamy with a great mix of vegetable flavors. The barley adds an interesting texture and helps thicken the soup, and the meat ends up fork tender. The first time I made it, I made some biscuits to go along with it. They didn't turn out so well. They didn't taste bad, but I think my baking powder is old because they didn't rise; they ended up pretty flat. My mom suggested letting them rise on the baking sheet for a while before baking them. I think I'll try that next time. I don't really have a biscuit recipe I regularly use. In the past, I've mostly used Bisquick. If anyone has a good biscuit recipe, let me know. Thanks.

     Sorry for the long delay between the last post and this one. I have been cooking, but not a whole lot, and nothing too exciting--mostly things I've mentioned before in the blog or on facebook posts. Over the next several days, though, I'll be making some new dishes. I got a copy of the Raley's 75th anniversary cookbook, which had some tasty-looking recipes. I'll be making a winter squash gratin and a quinoa salad as well as blackened fish, which is a favorite of my mom and me.

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