We love soup. Homemade soup, that is! I make it in huge quantities and can it, and I make it in smaller batches to enjoy all week when Farmer Bob is out of town. It’s an easy meal for me and I never get tired of it.
You can buy stock in a can or carton in the store, but there’s nothing like homemade, and it’s so easy. It’s the foundation of a good soup and the best thing about making it homemade is that you can add as little or as much salt as suits your taste. All the ingredients are fresh, and you control everything that goes into it. I’m going to show you an easy way to get the most flavorful stock ever.
Here at Fox Trot Farm, we raise sheep for meat and, when we get one back from the processor all neatly packaged, we also get packages of meaty soup bones and we sure don’t let those go to waste. Buying a whole lamb is really the most economical way to put meat in your freezer….just as some folks buy a whole, half or quarter steer. You get all the usual cuts (ribs, loin chops, rack, leg-of, shoulder roast or stew meat, ground, and lots of soup bones. Of course, all the meat from one of our lambs fits easily in the home freezer…usually 60 pounds or so! (You can order one now for early December processing, by the way. Just put a deposit down and we’ll get it ready for you!)
How to Make Meat or Vegetable Stock
Lightly oil a large sheet pan, and spread your meaty soup bones on it. Scatter vegetables of your choice over the bones. Here, I’m making lamb stock, and I used celery, onions, and whole unpeeled cloves of garlic. (You don’t even have to peel the onions if you don’t feel like it, because you’ll strain all the solids out of the stock at the end. Drizzle a bit of good olive or canola oil over all the meat and vegetables and toss them around a bit. Don’t salt and pepper this…you’ll do that later. Here’s what it should look like:
If you’re making vegetable broth, use a variety of veggies…celery, onions, garlic, carrots, leeks, fennel…and proceed the same way.
Put the pan with the ingredients in an oven set to 350 degrees and roast until everything is brown and aromatic. You won’t believe how wonderful your house will smell while this is roasting! Don’t worry if some of the vegetables get charred a bit….that will just add more flavor to your stock. Here’s what you’ll end up with:
Scrape all the meat bones and vegetables into a stock pot or Dutch oven, and add enough water to just cover everything. (I leave the fat that has cooked out of the bones in the pan and discard that once it cools.) Add some whole bay leaves and some pepper corns, and simmer the bones/veggies for an hour and a half. Let the mixture cool a bit, and then strain the broth or use a slotted spoon to scoop out the solids. If you want the broth to be very clear, then put a flour sack cloth over your strainer and pour the broth through that. The stock will be richly flavored and ready for you to use for soups, or stews, gravy, or whatever. You’ll add your seasonings (salt and pepper) to taste according to what you’ll be making. Don’t forget to pick the bits of meat off the bone, and dig the marrow out, too. I made an Italian vegetable soup called minestrone from this batch, and there was plenty of meat off the bones to make a very thick and yummy soup. I didn’t think to get a picture of my soup before we ate it all! Don’t forget to order your lamb now if you’d like to have delicious meat in your freezer this winter. Meat and meaty soup bones, that is! (If you want some GREAT soup recipes, visit my friend Sally’s blog HERE.)
Call or text me at 803-804-3541 or come by our farm market on Sunday afternoons from 1:00-5:00. While you’re here, stock up on honey, honey and beeswax soap, farm fresh eggs, Granny Bee’s Bakery goods, and craft and quilted treasures. The kids can enjoy looking at the bunnies, lambs, chickens and goats while you shop!