Bone Broth…or, The Key to Great Vegetable Soup!

“Soup Saturday,” you say?

It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of soup. On the first cool day in fall I look forward to the first Soup Saturday in my house. Every Saturday after that I make a yummy homemade soup that warms us as well as my kitchen. Everyone has their favorite: my husband always wants chili, my son and daughter love my chicken tortilla, and I… well I have too many favorites and that’s why Soup Saturday lasts until spring! (For another one of my faves check out my ham, lentil and potato soup!)

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“Hello, gorgeous!”

I pick that week’s selection based on different factors, but as with most of my meal planning it’s the ingredients I see in the market that week. While visiting my parents for the holidays I made a stop to my favorite local indoor market – Monnettes Market in Toledo, OH– and as soon as I saw this gorgeous red cabbage I knew I needed to make some vegetable soup this week. (That and the fact that it’s been hovering around zero here in Ohio all week!)

Bone broth!

So back to my topic – bone broth! Vegetable soups are basically a mix of the cook’s choice of vegetables, meat if you like, and maybe some pasta. So what makes or breaks and truly brings the flavor home is your broth. And homemade bone broth is the only way to go. It literally is one of the easiest things you can prepare, can be made a few days ahead of time, adds rich flavor and even has health benefits. (read more about the benefits of bone broth here)

Tell me more…

I’m sure there are all kinds of fancy ways to make bone broth, but I do mine pretty basically, with just a few ingredients. Remember, you’re just making a base from which you’ll be making other dishes; there’s no need to add much at the start. I use my large stock pot or even just use my slow cooker on low all day, whichever I have the time for. Look for a package of soup bones at your local market. If you can’t find them, just ask your butcher and they can scare some up for you. Put them in your pan along with an onion, salt and pepper, some celery tops, parsley, and a bay leaf. Then just add about eight cups of water. Set your pot to a low simmer for a few hours and that’s it – fresh, delicious broth. Remove the large vegetable chunks. You can freeze, use right away, or refrigerate for several days.

Now if you want to make yourself some tasty vegetable soup, with or without a perfect red cabbage, start with a perfect homemade broth. Your soup will be smooth and flavorful and whatever vegetables you add will only be enhanced by the broth. I like to add beef and some kind of starch, whether it’s potatoes, barley, or a bit of pasta, but all that depends on my mood that day. Here’s my basic recipe, if you like:

Beth’s Homemade Vegetable Soup

In a large stock pot, saute until meat is no longer pink:

1 onion 

2-3 cloves garlic

1T olive oil

1 lb beef stew meat, cut in small chunks

Then add and stir together:

8 c beef broth

28 oz. tomatoes, with juice

3-4 stalks celery, chopped

3-4 carrots, sliced

1-2 zucchini or yellow squash, chopped

1 small head of cabbage, chopped

8 oz. mushrooms

1 c snap peas, chopped, or 1/2 c peas

1 c small pasta (orzo, small shells or radiatore work well) OR 1/2 c cooked barley OR 1-2 small red potatoes

black pepper

several dashes cayenne pepper

1 tsp dried parsley

1 tsp Italian seasoning

3-4 c water

Simmer until all veggies are done/tender. Enjoy with a nice, dry sharp cheddar. If you give the broth and/or the soup a try I’d love to hear your thoughts. Happy souping!

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2 thoughts on “Bone Broth…or, The Key to Great Vegetable Soup!

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