January 7th – Puzzled

We are still in the deep freeze but there is supposed to be relief coming soon. In the meantime, we are doing what we can to keep warm. For Dan, that has meant shovelling snow and plugging in the car to insure he would make it to work today. For me it meant finishing my jigsaw puzzle yesterday. One down, one to go .

Done deal!

With this bone chilling weather that we have been blessed with, we decided this would be a good week for a big pot of homemade beef soup.

Homemade beef soup can be as simple as adding dried soup vegetables, noodles, and leftover cooked beef to store bought broth. It can be as basic as adding fresh vegetables, freshly cooked meat, and barley to store bought broth. This week we went all out and made everything from scratch – including the broth. 😉

Dan made the broth on Wednesday. We had a couple of huge beef bones from Fellinger’s Meat Market which went into our stock pot with water, an assortment of unchopped vegetables (onions, celery, carrots, and a couple of dried hot peppers), a little salt and pepper, and one bay leaf. I don’t know if anyone has ever used a bay leaf for anything other than homemade soup – for which one bay leaf seems to be a critical ingredient. Once the pot was filled, the contents were brought to a boil and every speck of foam was scraped off of the top. The temperature was turned down and the broth was left to simmer for the better part of the day. Finally, Dan removed the bones and vegetables and we strained the broth through a sieve lined with cheesecloth before it went out to our unheated garage for the night. Dan went out and brought it back in yesterday morning. Amazingly, it had not frozen solid, so I was able to remove the fat that had risen and solidified at the top of the broth. We poured half of the finished broth into containers and stored them in the freezer for future use.

Simmering the broth…

The broth we kept for our soup was poured into our Dutch oven and brought to a boil, I added about a cup of barley. While that simmered away, Dan chopped a variety of fresh vegetables (onions, carrots, celery, parsnips, and cabbage) to add to the pot. Pretty much any vegetable works but we were a bit low on variety yesterday. We made up for it with quantity.

Cooking the vegetables…

While the vegetables cooked, I grilled a small sirloin steak for Dan to cube before adding to the pot.

Return to a boil, and simmer for another half hour…

And.. Supper is served…
  • Tips:
  • To make beef or chicken broth get beef bones or stewing hens from a local farmer or a good butcher shop.
  • To re-serve add a few different vegetables (turnips, tomatoes, mushrooms, daikon…) Add some orzo or miniature alphabet or star pasta… Whatever! It is all good and it creates an all new soup.

That is it for today. Take care and have a great day!