When I was growing up on the farm, most of the evening main meals consisted of meat and potatoes. Breakfast was whatever you could grab before heading to the barn, but once chores were done, there was usually a big pot of strong coffee (kids weren’t allowed to have coffee) and maybe some fresh eggs with thick slices of buttered toast waiting (margarine wasn’t allowed on the table if you lived in dairy country). Lunch was usually left overs from the meal the night before, along with some homemade soup that had been simmering on the stove since morning chores. I love soups and stews.
I often make soup stock from the pan drippings of whatever meat I have put in the roaster and then save that stock in the freezer for another day. I can’t count how many times a quickly made chicken or duck soup has made a child who is feeling ill, feel so much better.
After a dinner of roast, I transfer the bones of the meat from the roaster to a large pot about a third full of water and set the pot to boil on the stove top. Once it’s come to a boil I turn it down to a slow simmer with the lid on. While I’m waiting for the pot to boil, I add a couple cups of water to the bottom of the roaster pan and use a spatula to scrape all the little brown bits from the sides and bottom of the pan to collect in the water, adding that to the pot as well.
I leave it all to simmer for about an hour and then I use a strainer to separate the bones from the liquid stock. I let the bones cool for a few minutes then pick out any nice bits of meat and put them back into the stock. At which point the stock can be left to cool, put into containers and into the freezer for another day or I can begin to make a finished soup by adding vegetables, herbs and perhaps a packet of bouillon.
- 1 litre homemade duck soup stock with meat
- 1 diced large onion
- 1 crushed garlic clove
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 thin sliced carrots
- 1 sliced celery stock
- 3 small potatoes cut into 1/2″ cubes
- 1/3 cup diced winter squash (acorn or butternut or dumpling)
- salt & pepper to taste
- Place frozen soup stock into a medium sized pot on the stove over medium heat to thaw, bring to a boil and then turn down to low heat.
- First add the vegetables, potatoes, celery, carrots, squash, onion to the pot and then the garlic and herbs, basil, thyme. salt & pepper and let simmer until the potatoes are tender, usually about 30 minutes or so.
- At which time it can be served right away or left on the lowest heat setting to simmer while the flavours meld even more for a couple of hours and then serve.
- can also add or substitute for any other vegetables you may have to hand, such as beets, yams, peas, corn, etc.
- or add 1 cup of precooked rice instead of potatoes.
- or use 1/2 tsp of dried sage instead of basil.