Almost Free Soup

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    • #289194

      This requires having freezer space to accommodate the food but if you have that, you’re set!

      I originally called this “Garbage Soup” but too many people objected to the term. Here’s what I do:

      Any time I have leftover vegetables–too small an amount to serve for another meal–they go into a container in the freezer. I’ve used a Tupperware bowl, 5 qt. ice cream pail–whatever works for you.

      Keep in mind that you’ll want vegetables that not only freeze well but work well in soup–potatoes or creamed corn don’t work well. If there’s vegetable juice left in a bowl, toss that in as well. You won’t want to use the water you cooked them in because that would give you too much liquid but there are exceptions and I’ll talk about those at the end.

      When I have those pesky bits of meat that aren’t quite enough for anything else, they go right in with the vegetables, cut into little pieces.

      Then there are the bones. Even if you’ve cooked the meat that the bone is attached to, it’s fair game. The chicken wing-tips or backbone, anything with potential flavor still in it that you’ll want to either just strain or strain and pick out the good bits are all great additions.

      These go into a tough plastic bag or another rigid container.

      I even put in that 1/8 of a pork chop still clinging to the bone that someone ate. I know, I know, this is absolutely too disgusting for words to some folks but I’m of the opinion that once you’ve cooked it long enough for the meat to fall off the bone, any germs that might have been on it are killed dead!

      OK, now comes the fun part. Your containers have enough stuff in them to make it worthwhile to make soup.

      Put all the bones, etc., in a large pan with enough water that you know everything will just about be covered when it all thaws out. Cook until any meat that was on a bone has pretty well fallen off. Strain off the good broth and put that back in the pan.

      If you have pieces of real meat in there, wait until the bones and such cool a bit and pick through for those bits and add those to the soup at the end.

      Now get your vegetable bucket out and put the contents in with the broth and simmer until the vegetables are “melted” and everything is nice and hot. This is when you’d want to add your extra bits of meat.

      Taste or just look at it to see what you might want to add (you’re probably going to know this before you even start the process because you know what you’ve been putting in there and what you like in your soup). Some people add tomatoes, I generally add carrots, onions, and celery in mine. I cook them separately to keep from cooking the leftovers to a mushy pulp.

      Season to taste.

      Depending on how much soup you have, you might want to divide it into several days worth of meals and add rice to one part of it, macaroni to another part–whatever you like in your soup that doesn’t freeze well.

      Extras: When you have the snapped off ends of asparagus or tough parts of broccoli or such that you’re going to toss, cook in as little water as possible; when tender mash the daylights out of it and strain into your soup bucket.

      Including the extra vegetables I put in, this generally costs less than $1.00 for 12 servings or so.

    • #429349
      Melissa Burnell

      That sounds delicious, one of my favorite spices to add to soups is Tumeric. It has lovely flavor, particularly for chicken and pork.

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