And Not Wasting a Thing..

I finally got my hands on a copy of Sally Fallon's book, Nourishing Traditions. I have loved reading it, because as well as recipes, it has philosophies, and lots of stories. I love stories! I gave a little book review at Tanya's Living Better Group the other night, and here is her review of the review.

Sally's collection of recipes is based on the idea that the diets developed over thousands of years in traditional societies can and should inform our food choices today. I am not really a 'follower' of any particular food regime, but I am very enthusiastic about eating real food, as close to its natural form as possible. Of course, our modern food production methods have dramatically changed the way we eat, but also, in the rush of 'going back to nature' our generation has forgotten some important old fashioned methods of food processing as well. Such as soaking or fermenting grains so that they can be properly digested. This was why grandma didn't invent muesli. Or Cocoa Pops.

Still, my favourite reasons for cooking like grandma is that the taste of real old-fashioned food is divine, and the idea of 'no-waste' is built into the recipes.

Remember a couple of weeks ago I took the children to the school fair and bought half a lamb? Well, after we ate up the lamb leg roast (cut slits in the skin and stuff in garlic slivers and rosemary. Mmmm), we had a few days of eating lamb and chutney toasted sandwiches, and then we just had the bone left, with the bits of meat we couldn't cut off. This was destined to become a gelatinous, mineral rich soup, which will not only nourish us, but probably make us better people as well.

I popped the sad, picked bone in the slow cooker with a bunch of rosemary from the garden, and covered it with water. Added a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, which helps to draw more minerals out of the bones. This is the easy bit. Cook for at least 24 hours on low. When it you can't stand seeing it on the kitchen bench any longer, turn it off, cool it down, then pop it in the fridge overnight.

In the morning there will be a layer of hard white fat on the top. Underneath will be lamb jelly!

Scrape off the lamb fat, and save it for the soup later, and for roasting potatoes in. Oh yum!

Don't worry, good fats are good for you, in moderation, like glasses of wine, and dark chocolate.

Now pull out those bones with tongs. Doesn't look like there is much there for the soup, but... is surprising how much actual meat is still on those bones. And to think you may have tossed them in the bin!

Now it's time to make soup. Start with a chopped onion, and the limp celery at the bottom of the fridge. Cook them slowly in some of that lovely lamb fat (lard? Tallow? Surely there's a euphemism we could be using here?) until translucent and fragrant. I just love the smell of celery cooking. It is so pungent, but fresh.

Always add the garlic last - it only needs a minute or two to cook. Overcooked garlic is bitter and nasty.

Now tip in the lovely wibbly-wobbly lamb jelly stock, which will liquidize as it warms up. While it is coming to the boil, chop up a selection of fridge-foraged vegies. I always add carrot, but never potato. I don't like potato in soup, and I really don't like the texture of potato in a soup or stew after it is defrosted. I also have a thing about only liking pumpkin in hearty vegetable soups. But that's just me. During the week I collect broccoli stems in a tub, and peel and chop them on soup day. I believe they are good for you - they are also one more way to FIGHT WASTE!

Now our No-Waste Soup is nearly ready. Add salt, pepper, more water if necessary. Add the meat. It doesn't look very pretty, but it smells divine. Edited to add: Oh my goodness, forgot the most important condiment of all - no meat-based soup is ever completely perfect without a slug of Worcestershire Sauce. In my world, anyway. Enjoy!

It is possible, that like me, you have parsley growing out of every crack in the paving, and every bare inch of soil that is not protected from profligate parsley reproduction. If so, sprinkle parsley on the soup to serve (it is nicely high in iron for those of us who need to bear these things in mind..), and maybe you just baked some sourdough yesterday, and maybe it wasn't quite as good as you first loaf, but quite acceptable toasted, with lashings of butter!

And there you have it - soup the way grandma made it, created from the remains of a completely other meal, and from the bits and pieces at the bottom of the veg crisper, or out of the garden. The bone broth is full of minerals and flavour, will be kind to your insides and make you strong. And very happy.

This post has been brought to you by the Bossypants School of No Waste Cookery. 


Tanya Murray said…
Oh my goodness you've made me hungry and my mouth is watering! It looks delicious and so nourishing and just look at that, another whole meal from scraps!
Slow cooker and fridge clearout, here I come.
Anonymous said…
My daughters who are sans possums have parsley growing in the guttering at their home ;). When we de-rooster the property on the odd occasion, aside from having 2 very excited dogs who love to deal with the ex-roostery delicious portions after I make amazing stock out of them (Steve won't eat "chook bits" he is from the U.K. and is naturally suspicious of things that you can snap like a whip and are trying to put on his plate and call "food" ;) ) the remaining stock sets stiff and if you were so inclined, you could bounce it around the kitchen (let’s just say that I haven't...yet...).
I was raised in a very frugal house where mum served us marrow bone soup at least once a week. I think that might be why we had such strong constitutions. I learned lots of lessons from Chinese and Indian friends about how to eliminate food waste. They use EVERYTHING in their recipes and broccoli and cauliflower stalks have been tucked into stir fries for years.
I no longer consume bone stock but figure I had it when I needed it the most, as a kid. I do, however eat my weights worth of veggie stock on a regular basis and figure someone's grandma, somewhere in the world has been satiated by my soup fetish ;). Love the way you write Jo and wish I was able to condense my writing (and satisfy my muses) with posts like yours :) I am sure my dear constant readers would be more content (and constant) with less…you have proved to me that less can be more :)
Bek said…
Love it. I also never throw out bones when I can make stock! I love a lamb soup, particularly with green beans and pearl barley. Yum! And I share your frustration with proflific opportunistic parsley plants. And to think I struggled to get parsley to grow for years. One plant made it and then I let it go to seed and now there are millions. I have to say though, I would totally attend the Bossypants School of No Waste Cookery.
Jo said…
Hi Tanya, so satisfying to use up leftovers and make something delicious (even if the children do sigh and whine about soup... again...).
Siwzy, I LOVE the slow cooker. It does such a sterling job, puttering quietly away in the corner of the kitchen.
Fran, I enjoy the thought of parsley growing in someone else's gutter. Although now I feel like I ought to get up and check mine. I wouldn't put it past the little.. darlings..
I would love to hear how you make vegetable stock. I've never made one without meat bones in it (vegan I am not!)
Bek, aargh, the parsley, the parsley! My children all attend the Bossypants Cookery School. Whether they like it or not. They may possibly not give it a five star rating. But at least they can cook. Some of them way better than me now. Which will be very good for me in my old age!
Tammy said…
Years ago I heard the expression garbage soup - using up all the bits and bobs in the fridge or stored in the freezer. Your soup sounds like an ultra-delicious version of it!
Anonymous said…
We do the same with chicken stock and that gts a minimum of 24 hours. I bought a beef bone once and it simmered for about 5 days. The gelly was almost as thick as rubber used in a rubber ball! Made a scrummy soup and I froze a good portion too. :)
The bones, once picked clean of all meat can be composted or you can bake them down in the oven until they are brittle and dry and make your own blood n bone but it is apparently pretty stinky. :)
Jo said…
Tammy, the other day I read the phrase 'fridge-forage soup' on a blog - somewhere! I can't remember, sadly, but I thought it was an excellent description of a wonderful concept!
Jessie, you are so the Queen of No-Waste. I did not know you could compost bones. I wonder how long they take to break down? I did contemplate burying them in the garden, but put them in the rubbish in the end. What we really need is the old rag-and-bone man, because seriously, I don't think I'll be whipping up any blood n bone anytime soon! There may be complaints...
Unknown said…
Coming in on the tail of all your other regulars, gee what can i say except yum. We have a roast chook at least once a week and my family are always amazed at how when im finished boiling the left over carcass there is still alot of meat and jelly for soups. Cheers Everyone. We dont eat a leg very often as we are a small family but i might just have to buy some bones.
Anonymous said…
Wish we had scratch 'n sniff Internet. (Remember scratch 'n sniff? I had a scratch 'n sniff T-shirt. Thought it was the bees knees.) Everything looks delicious.

I would like to visit the Bossypants Cafe and have a bowel with some of your bread. And then maybe one of your daughter's cakes for dessert!

I have never made my own stock from scratch. We eat a bit of lamb. My husband loves a roast leg of lamb. I just bought Jamie Oliver's latest about using leftovers. he has several recipes including soup using up a roast. I asked Mr Sans last time if he wanted me to use the bone to make soup but he doesn't like lamb as the basis for soup.
Jo said…
Lynda, I know I'm preaching to the choir here.. everyone is a frugal queen here...

Lucinda, I'm not such a fan of the flavour of lamb, apart from lamb roast, but this soup has such a depth of flavour, from the long cooking of the stock. I think the rosemary lifts it as well, and the Worcestershire sauce (or alternately, dry sherry), cuts the slight blandness of lamb. V. imp, don't forget it! I think you might even win over Mr S with this one!
Barbara Good said…
Delicious! That's on my agenda for the next left over bit of lamb roast.

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