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...
...it 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.