Posts Tagged ‘homemade soup’

Scotch Broth

April 7, 2018

Scotch Broth

A major holiday means a roast; a roast leaves a bone, and a bone means broth. Bone broth offers a major source of immune system support minerals and healing compounds for a healthy gut. We are learning more and more about the importance of gut health and its relationship to both mental and physical well being. Please take notice of any meaty bones you may have left over from steaks, chops, chickens, fish. Turn them into broth before they go in the bin and nourish yourself with this low cal, simple goodness.

For my family Easter means a leg of lamb and stock from the lamb bone becomes Scotch Broth. The origins of this soup are obvious. Sheep and barley are vital in Scotland and the common vegetables would be easily at hand. It’s still cool enough for hearty soups and this one could be prepared from any broth as well as from the lamb bone. A broth you prepare yourself from the bones and bits of any roast will far exceed the flavor and food value of canned or boxed stocks. If you haven’t time to use your broth after it has been simmered and strained, it freezes well in plastic cartons or zip lock bags.

Gather up whatever vegetables you have: onions, carrots, celery, cabbage, garlic, parsley, a turnip or radishes and begin chopping. Do make sure you have on hand either hulled or pearled barley. Barley, an almost forgotten whole grain adds a silky texture to the soup and a welcome bite that almost makes it seem like pasta. You will notice a few untraditional soup making tips in the recipe: tomato paste added for color, turmeric for color and health, crushed chili for zip, a dash of fish sauce for umami. All of these add depth of flavor to a brothy soup but may be omitted.

Scotch Broth

Soup ingredients

4-6 cups good bone broth (lamb if possible)

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 branches celery, chopped

a small turnip or 2 radishes chopped

2 tablespoons bacon dripping or olive oil

3-4 cloves garlic

crushed red chili (optional)

2 teaspoons tomato paste

1/8 teaspoon turmeric

sweating veg

¼ cup barley, pearled or hulled

¼ medium cabbage shredded, 2 cups

left over chopped lamb or chicken

salt, dash of fish sauce

handful chopped parsley

First prepare the bone broth. If possible save the browned sliced onion, carrot that you may have roasted under the lamb and strained off from the dripping juices. Strip the cooled left over meat from the bone and the next day roast

veg base softened

the bone until it takes on a rich smell; however, this step isn’t mandatory. Cut through the tendon at the knuckle to bend the lamb bone to fit a large saucepan. Add carrot ends and peelings, onion skins, celery leaves, etc plus the browned veg from the roast. Cover with water, bring to a simmer and cook slowly for 3-4 hours. Strain, discard the bone and cooking veg debris. Pour the cool stock into jars. Chill and remove any solid fat that rises to the surface. A leg of lamb bone plus browned bits will give 4-6 cups broth.

chopped cabbage

When ready to prepare the soup, sweat the chopped onion, carrot and celery in 2 tablespoons good pork or bacon dripping or olive oil covered with butter wrappers until softened. Add chopped garlic, chili, turmeric and tomato paste. Stir to caramelize the tomato and toast the spices. Stir in 6 cups of stock. Bring to a boil; add barley, cabbage, (some chopped bits of lamb or chicken if desired), salt, and simmer for 30 minutes or until barley is tender. Taste for seasonings adding a sprinkle of fish sauce if needed to lift flavor. Stir in a handful of chopped parsley before serving. Serves 4





January 1, 2017


As I sat down to New Year’s Day lunch, I thought nothing could be better than this bowl of Laksa, a traditional Malaysian soup. It was brothy, light and spicy, packed with vegetables and thin noodles. Jim would have loved this; soup was one of his favorite things. Now I need soup that will nourish, warm and comfort me. With the joys and sorrows of 2016 still raw, we look for ways to go on. Perhaps it’s time for some lighter eating and living.

Creamy or brothy, thick or thin, hot or cool, every culture and tradition has soup. Farm folks still put up Mason jars of vegetable soup from the summer garden bounty. Commercial factories fill grocery shelves with canned, dried and frozen soups. Delicious soup can be made even with a few vegetables and water. Fresh, preservative free soup will always be better. Why not make soup at home, even if you are in a hurry.

The following recipe, a 15-minute wonder, is an adaption from Rosemary Kearney. It’s accessible to anyone who has a few vegetables plus some chilies in the fridge and a can of coconut milk in the pantry.


3 oz. thin rice noodles or vermicelli

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or 2 tablespoons vegetable oil)

2 tablespoons chopped, peeled fresh ginger

4 plump garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

½ Serrano chili, sliced

3 cups stock (bone broth, chicken, vegetable or fish stock)

½ – 1 14 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk

1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce

2 cups blanched green vegetables (I chose green beans, broccoli and cabbage; use what you have)

¼ cup grated carrot or slivered red pepper.

Cooked shrimp or pulled chicken or pork (optional)

Juice from 1-2 limes or to taste

Sliced green onion for garnish

Place rice noodles in wide bowl; cover generously with boiling water; soak until soft. Drain and rinse. Or cook broken vermicelli according to directions, rinse and cool.

Bash ginger, garlic and chili in a mortar with pinch of coarse salt to form an even mash. Or use a mini food processor or finely chop chili and grate ginger, garlic.

Warm oils in soup pot. Add ginger paste stirring constantly a few seconds until the mixture smells, cooked. Add stock and simmer covered 5 minutes. Add coconut milk (less or more as preferred) and simmer 5 minutes. Season with fish sauce, salt if needed.

When ready to serve, add vegetables, optional meats, noodles and heat. Add lime juice and immediately divide soup into bowls. Sprinkle with sliced green onions, plus cilantro if you have it. Serves 2 or 3.

Mary Jo's Cookbook available on Amazon

Mary Jo’s Cookbook available on Amazon

Leek And Potato Soup

April 5, 2013

leek:potato soupIt may be spring, but there are still patches of winter in the park even though snowdrops wave their tiny white flowers. I’ve not yet found a spear of chive or a leaf of early mint and the parsley’s still a flat mossy mat. Everybody’s weary of the roasted root veg and the thought of more broccoli and cousins excite no one. With another few weeks before we see any local asparagus or arugula, we’ll sit tight and make the best with leeks and a few old spuds.

Leeks give us an inviting gentle onion flavor and the light green of springtime. For years I’ve whizzed up gallons of pureed leek and potato soup, but this time I want my leeks to shine and my potato to be a creamy backdrop. The days are still cool enough for bowls of hot soup. Perhaps best of all, in the classic French tradition a leek and potato soup demands no stock. With a few flavor perks of garlic and green chili, this one-pot friendly potage will tide you over until farmers truck out their asparagus with flavor umatched by imported spears.

Leek and Potato Soup

1 lb. leeks (2-3 medium)
½ Spanish onion peeled and cut in small dice (4-5 oz.)
2 tablespoons butter (1 oz.)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon chopped Serrano chili with seeds (optional)
1 lb. peeled Russet potatoes cut in ½-inch dice (3 generous cups)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
6 cups water
¼ cup heavy cream + ¾ cup whole milk
freshly ground white pepper and chopped parsley

Trim roots and any blemished leaves from leeks, and plan to use entire leek in soup. Cut off light-colored bottom of the leek, the lower third. Wash carefully and slice thinly, measuring 2-3 cups. Melt butter in a 4-5-quart heavy pot and sweat Spanish onion slowly over low heat until translucent. Add the light part of the sliced leeks and continue to sweat (tent with butter wrappers to encourage even cooking). Add garlic, chili, diced potatoes and stir into the onion mixture until garlic is fragrant. Add water, salt, cover and simmer until potato is almost tender, about 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile split the green part of leeks and wash carefully to remove any trace of sand or dirt inside leaves. Strip the wide leaves into ½-inch ribbons and thinly slice green leek tops,measuring about 4 cups. Add green leeks to simmering soup and cook another 10 minutes or until potatoes are falling apart and green leeks are tender. Add mixed milk and cream or 1 cup half and half. Taste for seasonings, adding more salt and some white pepper if desired. Stir in a handful of chopped parsley. Crush potatoes lightly with a potato masher until they dissolve in soup. Ladle into bowls and enjoy with warm whole grain toast. Makes 10 cups of early spring soup.

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