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Free and frugal soup  RSS feed

 
r ranson
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Reading An article about free soup on growyourowngroceries, it got me thinking about soup.


Sure, there are fancy soups, expensive soups, soups in tins, cartons, powdered form... What's most interesting to me is frugal soup. The every day soup of our ancestors. Be it broth or pottage, or somewhere in between, soup has the magic needed to transform kitchen waste into nutritious deliciousness.


Most soup begins with broth or stock. This can be made from the leftover bones of a roast, the skins of onions, the top of the leak, the peal and ends from a carrot, the tough bits of celery... just about any organic scrap (except potato peals - yuck!) can be transformed into delicious and healthy broth. Most of those food scraps you paid money to bring home, or put effort into growing. Why not extract every little bit of dietary goodness from these scraps before composting them?


And then there are leftovers. Sudder. I hate them. They sit in the fridge until I get fed up and toss them all to the chickens. No longer. Instead, I mix them together with the broth. That one serving of squash, that bit of old rice, a few veggies, maybe a bit of roast... now they aren't leftovers anymore. They are yummy soup.


I'm still getting the hang of soup making. It's easy, but then again, it's a bit more art than science.

Let's inspire each other.
What frugal soups do you make?
Do you have a family recipe?
 
Penny Dumelie
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I normally use the bones from chicken to make chicken broth. Add a couple caps of cider vinegar to pull all the goodness from the bones. Once it simmers over night, I will add more water, and leftover veggies - onion, garlic, carrots, celery. Let it simmer until all the healthy parts have been absorbed into the broth and then strain out anything solid.
We then use the broth like a tea (especially for anyone sick). We also use it instead of water to cook rice, use it as a soup base, use it for gravy instead of water... basically anywhere you would use water and want some extra nutrition and flavor.

I do the same with beef stewing/soup bones.
 
Casie Becker
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I make a lot of soup (big fan of one dish meals). Especially when you're making a vegetable broth it's worth the extra step of browning the veggies before adding water. And never underestimate the value of copious amounts of herbs. Not only do they add a lot of flavor, they're more nutritious than most of the vegetables.
 
R Scott
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Stone Soup

AKA junk soup--whatever leftover junk we have before it goes bad...I make a pretty mean chowder from leftover mashed potatoes.

Another thing I do is dumplings--easy bannock dough (google it) boiled in water or leftover broth and meat. I can take what is enough meat for two sandwiches and feed a dozen.


As a friend always says, "I will always add another cup of water to the soup for a friend."
 
r ranson
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Casie Becker wrote:I make a lot of soup (big fan of one dish meals). Especially when you're making a vegetable broth it's worth the extra step of browning the veggies before adding water. And never underestimate the value of copious amounts of herbs. Not only do they add a lot of flavor, they're more nutritious than most of the vegetables.


Browning the vegetables? Tell me more. This is new to me.
 
Casie Becker
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Nothing too complicated. Just put a little cooking oil in the bottom of the pan and stir the vegetables around until they start to change color. It's called caramelizing when you do it to onions, but most vegetables can get just a little searing on the edges. If I were to guess, the higher heat lets some chemical reactions happen that can't happen in water and it adds to the complexity of the flavors and helps get a visually appealing darker color to the broth.

Really want your mind blown... take the dumplings out of chicken and dumplings and use them on top of a pile of all the soup ingredients that has been barely covered with broth in a casserole dish. Important that the dumplings are barely touching the broth. Then bake the whole thing (use drop biscuit temps/time) until the dumplings start to brown. I was shocked the first time I had chicken and dumplings my mother hadn't made. Thought a whole cooking step had been forgotten.
 
William Clark
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I've always called it refrigerator stew, whether its stew consistency or not. As far as cleaning out the fridge its amazing but, sometimes it's a bit of a challenge to know when to stop adding things. After a bit of practice (which I don't have enough of yet apparently) you can even add old condiments, talk about cleaning out the fridge; it seems like mine is half full of condiments most days.
like most things I cook it usually starts with an onion or two and a glob of butter, then in goes the things that I want to cook forever so that they disappear like leftover rice or a large amount of root veggies/squash. Beans(Rinsed and soaked first! ) or whole grains go in about this time too, then I let it stew slowly and start thinking about spices and salt. Unless its questionable I'll add any meat when the beans/grains are half cooked so its not too broken down by the time it gets to the table.
I've found that it's usually better the second day too. O No! Now I'm hungry

also thanks Casie Becker, I'd say that's what my veggie stocks have been missing

-- William Clark
 
Jan White
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Casie Becker wrote:Just put a little cooking oil in the bottom of the pan and stir the vegetables around until they start to change color. It's called caramelizing when you do it to onions, but most vegetables can get just a little searing on the edges. If I were to guess, the higher heat lets some chemical reactions happen that can't happen in water and it adds to the complexity of the flavors and helps get a visually appealing darker color to the broth.


If you really want to get as much flavour as you can from the veg, chop them up small so you have more surface area, and roast them in the oven with some oil until they're really dark. Then proceed with your stock.

Dried mushrooms and kombu are good additions to deepen a broth.

My go-to frugal soup is beans and dried sweet corn.
 
John Polk
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Nothing too complicated. Just put a little cooking oil in the bottom of the pan and stir the vegetables around until they start to change color.

Or better yet, put them in the oven and/or broiler (with added herbs/seasonings).
A friend does this with all of the tomato sauce ingredients - way, way better than simmering away all day on the stove top. It makes a slightly roasted spaghetti sauce that adds a whole new depth to pasta dishes.
 
leila hamaya
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my grandmother called that "nothing to eat in the house soup"...
actually her version was usually a bean and kale soup, cause we always had oodles of kale growing.

and totally, sometimes pre cooking/lightly stir fry some of the ingredients is good thing, gives a lot of extra flavor, especially for meat.
i've been working on that lately trying to perfect my kale, bean and sausage soup recipe...not even close to as good as my grams!

one of my favorite soups to make is a pretty quick soup -- whatever is good in my garden, plus two cans of coconut milk.
with whatever additional spices, ginger, taters, etc. sometimes i put apples and sweet potatoes, squash, corn, whatever extra leftovers....






^^ coconut milk + garden veggies + edible flowers = yum ^^
 
Tyler Ludens
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My favorite frugal soup is very simple: Some broth, and a bunch of greens. Chop the greens up and cook them in the broth, and then puree them in a food processor or blender. Serve with bread of your choice (I usually make corn bread).

 
Deb Rebel
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Scrap Soup:

Start in big pot, all the leftover scraps of meat trimmings you saved when butchering or rebutchering, and it doesn't matter what animal it was, bones are okay too. 3-4 different meat sources in the pot are fine (fish don't work well for this though). Fill your pot 1/2 to 3/4 full of water, start adding the scraps (bacon fat, beef fat trimmings, the rebutcher back and tail off chicken quarters, etc) and bay leaves, cloves, and basil and whatever else you have for herbs. Simmer gently with an occasional stir, open, for about three hours. Now take all the veggie scraps you saved and probably froze, and add the chunks slowly so as not to chill off the pot too fast, and simmer for another 30 minutes. Add some home made noodles or pasta after a topup of water and get it back to simmer, this is when I crack fresh pepper in, and will simmer until the pasta is done. Put on table with a big ladle and some fresh bread. I always scoop off the fat before adding the noodles, and can fish out the spice chunks then too. I adapted this from my grandmother's recipe for borscht, which is (beet and veggie stew).
 
Catherine Haynes
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I grow tomatoes for soup and sauce. My method of preserving is a lot easier for me and creates vegetable broth as well as tomato sauce. Instead of peeling and seeding my tomatoes I wash and quarter them, then bake them along with some onions, peppers, garlic, whatever I have handy. This produces roasted veggies and a lot of yummy liquid that I pour into jars and freeze as vegetable broth. The roasted veggies go thru my KitchenAid grinder/strainer a few times and then the puree also goes into jars for the freezer. Very little waste, lots of food, not to hard.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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I need to tell you about my husband's Sopi Di Kabes. It's not totally free, but close.
The most important ingredient is the head of a fish (cod). We buy it at the local market for 1 euro (large monster heads!). And then you need different vegetables like: onion, garlic, carrot, whatever you like or have from your own garden, sweet potatoes and pumpkins are very well too. And some broth (sorry, we use cubes). You cook the fish head not too long. Then you take it apart. The fish-bones you can give to the dog or cat You make a thick vegetable soup of all other ingredients in an amount of water. When it's ready you put the fish-meat in it. The taste is best the next day, or after some time in the freezer.

oh, almost forgot: put some tiny slices of very hot pepper (Madame Jeannette Surinam pepper) in it. This is a Caribbean recipe.
 
Levente Andras
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I made this soup today, the main ingredients being Nettle and Sorrel, leaf vegetables that are not only perennial, but also lasting from early spring to mid/late autumn in my region

- a big handful of nettle leaves from the yard (pick the tips, and if needed, also the leaves close to the tip)
- a big handful of sorrel leaves, also from the yard
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- (if you want to add some protein) 1-2 eggs, whisked
- (if you want a more hearty version with a bit of carbs) a couple of potatoes, peeled & cubed

Fry the onions until soft & translucent, then add the nettle (and potato cubes) and stir until the nettle wilts. Add water, salt to taste, boil for about 5 minutes. Add the sorrel leaves, boil for another 5 minutes. Pour in the whisked eggs, stirring continuously. Pepper to taste. Done.

If you have some stale bread in the house, cut it into cubes and toast them in the oven or on a pan, to make croutons to go with the soup.

 
Thekla McDaniels
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Last night I made soup. Chicken broth from the stewing hens last fall, what ever herbs and stuff was in the garden, then canned. But I only had some broccoli to put in, so I did, and some onion. It seemed pretty impoverished. I cracked a couple of eggs and poached them in the soup, and found I had the scrapings in the bottom of a jar of Moroccan salt cured lemons that I had mixed in with some butter to smear on the outside of an aging cheese. That salt lemon butter was fabulous to make a junk soup into a tasty dinner
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Great recipes. Thanks for sharing. Here's the recipe for the soup that I made last night.

It started with about 2/3 pound of deer roast (harvested on my daddy's farm), cut up into small pieces. They were browned on high heat in a stainless steel pan with a bit of olive oil.

After the meat was well browned, about 1/4 cup of masa harina (grown on my farm), was added, and it was browned some more. then a bare spot was scraped into the bottom of the pan and 1 teaspoon of sugar was added, and allowed to bubble and turn brown. Caramel! Looking great.

While the meat was browning, I went out to the garden and scrounged for vegetables to add. There was some parsley, thyme, and sage in the spice garden. There was some spinach, bok choi greens, garlic greens, and green onions in the kitchen garden.

Then I came in and scrounged in the pantry. I found the last little storage onion from last fall's harvest. There were some store bought vegetables: celery, carrots, a potato, and a leaf of cabbage.

So I chopped up the spices and vegetables while the meat was finishing browning.

After the meat was fully browned, and the sugar caramelized, I added a quart of water, the fresh spices, most of the vegetables, some salt, turmeric, and black pepper. A half hour later, when the vegetables were done, I dumped in the spinach and bock choi greens. Mmm. Mmm. Mmm. Lunch, and dinner last night, and breakfast and lunch today. How lucky is that?

soup-deer-vegetable.jpg
[Thumbnail for soup-deer-vegetable.jpg]
Deer and Vegetable Stew
 
Sherri Sachs
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Saving chicken bones and making broth is a great idea. So is roasting beef bones and cooking the marrow out into broth. Take it one step further. Dry those bones and powder them to use in your garden.
 
William Bronson
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A possibly disgusting question, does anyone make broth from gnawed bones? We tend to eat chicken down to the bone,my daughter breaks these and eats the marrow,but the rest of us don't. So if we roasted these bones, and then simmered them, I am sure we could glean even more nutrients, and the heat could kill the germs. But there is still the ick factor. So does anyone here do this?
 
Thekla McDaniels
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No ick factor here. You're going to boil those bones. We used to make chicken soup from the carcass and gnawed leg bones, used to do the same thing with the Thanksgiving turkey. I thought it was normal.
 
Deb Rebel
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If you boil for 10 minutes most everything will be deaderNdead, so go right ahead on boiling gnawed bones.

I found my 'tomato death' recipe, I got it from some website that I don't have who or where anymore (found it last summer). Do this to your extra tomatoes. The woman who posted said she had a stand near them that sold fresh heirloom tomatoes, she would buy all the damaged/blems and process them the same day this way, then freeze and use them later.

Tomato Death

Cut in pieces, small cherry halves, big cherry 1/3 or quarter. Cut everything else accordingly.

Spray lipped cookie sheet with canola oil (higher temp oil) or line pan with aluminum foil and spray that.

Layer tomatoes so they don't touch.

Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil

Salt, pepper, rosemary, oregano (cloves optional) granulated garlic. You may omit the salt. The olive oil will help the stuff stick.

250F for about 2 hours. Check occasionally.

Can or freeze afterwards. I have put these onto a pizza at topping time, or run through something to take the seeds out and they make the most lovely sauce or soup base. You can leave chunky if you want.

 
Thekla McDaniels
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We call that roasted tomatoes, and don't bother cutting them up much. Once roasted they can be canned or frozen. It's a wonderful ingredient to have on hand, great thing to add to soup stew casserole any tomato based sauce can start with these, and it will flavor the soup if you don't have broth. ONe thing worth mentioning, if a person is concerned with aluminum intake: tomatoes are acid and they will react with the aluminum foil if you use it, and you'll get a big dose of aluminum with your tomatoes.
 
Deb Rebel
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Thekla McDaniels wrote:We call that roasted tomatoes, and don't bother cutting them up much. Once roasted they can be canned or frozen. It's a wonderful ingredient to have on hand, great thing to add to soup stew casserole any tomato based sauce can start with these, and it will flavor the soup if you don't have broth. ONe thing worth mentioning, if a person is concerned with aluminum intake: tomatoes are acid and they will react with the aluminum foil if you use it, and you'll get a big dose of aluminum with your tomatoes.


Yes, I invested in commercial cookie sheets that are not, but. That was on the original notes I took about the recipe. My spouse has to follow guidelines for alzheimers (he does not have it but we limit his aluminum exposure/ingestion) so I have to get non-aluminum baking powder and he uses non-aluminum deodorant, etc. Just that if you're making soup, I found that the roasting up is easypeasy and is so good as an additive to your broth or soup. When this year's crop is coming in, I plan on taking all the frozen meatscraps and such and making a huge pot of Scrap Soup and use the last of last year's batch of tomatoes in it. I am on course to have first ones in mid-June and running to at least mid October. http://www.amazon.com/Clad-Ovenware-Inch-Baking-Sheet/dp/B00172V414/ref=sr_1_1?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1461798319&sr=1-1&keywords=Allclad+stainless+steel+cookie+sheet the cookie sheets I invested in, I have four of them, back when we still had money. It has cost me over the decades to replace everything with stainless but in the end it has been so worth it. Heavy duty and quality. I have one stock pot you can about crawl into, it is marvelous for making large batches of soup. The other one not mentioned is to pressure cook up your bones/meat chunks. It will make it all melt into gorgeousness. (edited because I put the wrong link in)
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Pressure cooking is great. The culinary sized ones are usually stainless steel, but the two pressure canners are aluminum. If I want to use the pressure cooker for cooking something like bones and meat chunks, I have to put it in a glass container inside the pressure cooker. It works pretty well, but I sure would like a great big stainless steel canning pressure cooker.
 
Su Ba
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Gnawed bones? Of course! All gnawed bones are saved in a corner of the freezer until the next time I make broth/stock. Into the pot they go.

Hubby and I love soup, any range from clear broth to thick stew. None of my soups come from a recipe, so I can never exactly duplicate them. But they almost all turn out real yummy. Most meal leftovers get processed through the soup pot, plus any surplus veggies or tiny veggie bits from the gardens.

Since I cook my soups usually on the woodstove that is taking the chill off the house at night, the soups are practically free. No spending money on propane to cook it. You talk about frugality! I love it.

On top of that, I use waste parts of veggies to make my broths. Onion leaves and ends. Celery butts. Veggie peelings. Kohlrabi leaves. Pea pods. Cabbage cores. Broccoli stems. That sort of stuff. I strain out this stuff once the broth is cooked, and it usually goes to the dog. If the dog wasn't already getting it, then the chickens or pigs would love to eat it. No waste!
 
Jenna Ferresty
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Thanksgiving or Christmas Leftovers soup

Pluck the big pieces of meat off a Turkey Carcass. Place the carcass into a crock pot or a large soup pot. Break the carcass up into smaller pieces, if needed, to fit into the pot. Cover the carcass with water by about an inch. If you have leftover wine, cider, or beer, or leftover chicken broth or gravy, these might also be added in place of water. Simmer the carcass for 5-48 hours, depending on your level of patience. The longer it goes, the better it will taste. Cut into bite sized pieces some of the meat you plucked from the carcass. Try to make sure you have 1-3 cups of turkey meat. If you have leftover sausage from dressing, you may use that in place of some of the turkey.
Once the carcass has simmered, ladle the pieces into a strainer over a bowl. If large pieces of meat have fallen off the bones, fish those out of the strainer. Discard the bones. Wipe out or wash the soup pot or crock pot. Return the broth (the liquid strained into the bowl) to the clean pot. Add vegetables. Vegetables may include any or all of the following: Leftover carrots, celery, broccoli, or cauliflower from a crudité platter, leftover pumpkin puree that didn’t make it into the pie, leftover squash, leftover pearl onions, leftover buttered vegetables (peas, beans, carrots, etc.), leftover cranberry relish (the chunky kind, not the jelly kind), etc.
Also add 3-5 cloves of garlic, chopped. Add 1 medium yellow or red onion, chopped. Add up to 2 Tablespoons of combined herbs. Herbs should be the same ones used for the turkey and vegetables. Examples might include poultry seasoning, sage, thyme, parsley, basil, etc.
Cook the broth, meat, herbs, and vegetables over low-medium heat for about an hour. Taste the soup and add salt and pepper if needed. Serve with an island of leftover mashed potatoes in the middle of the bowl or with leftover stuffing on the side.
 
Jenna Ferresty
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When I'm making veggie broth, I like to add a light beer in place of some of the water. I find the yeast content of the beer makes for a richer tasting broth.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Speaking of thanksgiving left overs, I have some young friends who have a left overs party along about Saturday. Everyone brings their left overs. The hosts have a deep fryer, and they get wonton/egg roll wrappers. people wrap up favorite combinations and into the fryer they go. desserts too. I have not been to the party but it sounds like they have fun.
 
Deb Rebel
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Turkey and Thanksgiving...

When I start prepping the bird I start up my big enamel stock pot. We don't eat the wings, neck, tail, giblets (gizzard and heart) so I cut those off and put them into the stockpot. Adding sage, basil, a bit of oregano, cracked pepper and a bay leaf. It goes on to simmer. I might add a few veggie bits, but they get bagged. I want the meat and broth to be separate. The bird gets put in to roast and the breast covered with foil, and the broth will cook for about 3 hours... then. I take the bread that's been ripped up and dried and make the dressing. I have one weird old casserole that fits in the oven along with the bird roaster, and the dressing is tucked in there to bake for the last bit of the bird cooking (I always run a 25# bird or close to it, LEFTOVERS). This way I get that lovely broth and can add the meat shredded that was cooked in the pot if I want, and the bird is never dried out from the dressing and I don't have to fuss with it or basting it. I am guaranteed that my dressing is fully cooked as well as the bird. THEN I can dump the veggies in that broth, after the bird gets the initial savaging, add bones and other things and recook up the most righteous soup with that lovely broth. The big surviving chunks of meat are saved for a few reruns, and the rest is in the stock pot so it doesn't get wasted.
 
Julia Winter
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I'd like to second the recommendation for a pressure cooker. The new ones don't make as much noise and steam as the old ones (with that jiggling weight) and you can get terrific broth with less energy input. You will melt all cartilage into velvety goodness. Also, the higher temperature reached by a pressure cooker helps remove any "ick" factor from gathering up all the bones from people's plates after a meal and making stock!

I tend to throw the giblets and neck into a freezer container, stick it in the fridge and then finish filling it up with the bones after the meal. Then the whole thing goes into the freezer until I have three or four of them, then I make a big pot of stock.
 
William Bronson
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Thanks for he feedback on the bones, I think iwilldo this ,for me, if not the rest of the family!
 
Joshua Parke
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Kinda funny this topic was renewed and I saw it in my email today....as I'm planning on making a soup.
Here's a little different spin on making soup. This is a raw vegan soup. You'll need a good blender, and if wanted, a juicer for an even more nutritionally dense soup.  Quite often I only use the blender and then I use water instead of juice.....because it's easier.  John Kohler has a good youtube video about making soups. I just looked up the title for anyone that may be interested. "Why a raw soup is better than a salad and how to create your own soup recipe".  Or just type his name and soup.

This is really dang simple...and I don't have a favorite recipe, but I really like Indian and Thai curries so I generally go with those flavors.
For the "broth" juice some carrots, celery, pepper, etc.. Put the juice in your blender along with some chopped veggies, greens, spices, herbs, etc..  Add in half an avocado to make the soup creamy and thicken it up some if wanted.  Blend it up, and if you allow the blender to run for a little bit it will warm the soup, and if you have a vitamix, you can make hot soup in it just by letting it run for enough time, but now it's a little "cooked". Add in any herbs after the soup is fully blended, and just lightly blend the herbs.  The herbs, maybe not all herbs, will taste terrible if over blended. Chop up some veggies and/or greens into small pieces and add them to your blended soup to make it chunky.  Garnish with cilantro, sprouts, etc...

Here's an example of a simple soup.  Juice enough carrots to make a couple cups of juice. Or just use water.  Chop up celery, carrot, bell pepper, spicy pepper, ginger, turmeric, avocado, then put it in the blender. Add spices if desired, coriander and cumin are two that I generally use with this soup, a little cinnamon can be pretty good in it too. Pour in some juice or water and begin blending, adding juice or water as you go to get to the desired consistency you want, blend until nice and smooth. Chop up some veggies if you want a chunky soup, and since it's a raw soup it's nice to chop the veggies into small pieces and thin slices so they are easy to chew.  I like chopped celery the most.  Garnish with cilantro.....enjoy.

Instead of using chopped veggies, you can use thin sliced strips of veggies so that it's like a noodle. A spiralizer is awesome for this. Zucchini noodles are pretty good with really thin sliced strips of bell pepper.
 
Deb Rebel
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Just started a pot of what we call 'bubble soup'.

Several bags of meat scraps, (bones, ham fat, gobs of bacon fat, etc) so about 5#, all the scrap veggies from harvesting off the last of the early and mid season croppage (small carrots, small beets, small potatoes, cabbage leaves that got a bit beat up and bug chewed and have that bit cut off) etc. Most of the veggies are 1-2" (long for carrots, round for some of the rest). Potatoes at 3/4" to about 1 1/2" .... meat has been going for awhile and just took all the other sorts and put them on in their own pot. Near end it will get some of the ravaged tomatoes (cut away the parts mom nature's critters fresh chewed just before I got there) and the small stuff. Almost like Borscht except beets are optional.

Spouse will enjoy the meaty version, as right now meat is in the big pot and the veggies are in another, I'll combine some of it later for him. I also put a few handfuls of barley in the meat, so as to make it really good. (celiac and vegan, so mine is without the meat pot stuff). If it gets home made egg noodles then we call it scrap soup. Takes 3-5 hours to make (depends on boiling out the bones in the meat pot). Serves lots. Recycles the trimmings if you don't have critters to feed the small and damaged stuff to.
 
Lindsay Hodge
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My daughter and I make Zuppa di Lindsay and Emma all the time.

Sometimes I make a creamy soup. It starts with a light roux then add half and half water and milk to any veggies and protein on hand.

Sometimes it's a stew (if I feel like thickening my soup with floor or potatoes) and sometimes it's just regular soup. Water, veggies, protein, salt and spices. Easy peasy

I will say no matter what, I usually skip the whole broth making step and use water, but that's because I don't like storing veggie scraps until I can get around to making broth. Besides, my chickens and vermiculture (worm) bins need to be fed! I have very limited freezer space!
 
Dan Boone
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This thread has reminded me about fish chowders.  Growing up on the Yukon we ate a lot of home-canned salmon, which is way better than no food but we got awfully tired of it.  My favorite thing to do with it was to make a chowder, roughly like this:

1) Finely chop some bacon and fry it on the bottom of the soup pot to get the grease out of it;
2) dice some onions and sweat them in the bacon grease;
3) throw in some carrots and lots of potatoes and a bit of diced celery if you have it, with enough water to cover, season with salt and black pepper and perhaps thyme or better yet marjoram, and simmer until carrots begin to soften;
4) throw in the quart canning jar of canned fish and return to a fast simmer;
5) add milk (we used reconstituted dry non-fat milk that came in a 50-lb bag marked "USDA Grade A Calf Feed") to mostly fill the pot;
6) when chowder is near a boil, use a potato masher to break stuff up until the dissolved potatoes thicken it up;
7) if you have it, throw in some canned or frozen corn for color and texture.

That was how my mother did it.  Now that I know about making a roux, I would start with that.

When I was in Moscow as a student during the final years of the USSR and cooking in a communal dorm kitchen with the random "stuff" that you could find in a Soviet grocery store, I made the same chowder using a number of small cans of some sort of canned mystery fish -- perhaps large sardines or canned mackerel, it was hard to tell.  Having real whole milk -- albeit of dubious freshness and pasteurization status -- from the Soviet "milk store" made it taste better, but the fish was inferior to my mom's canned Yukon River salmon and the chowder came out a sort of unpleasant Soviet grey.  I also didn't have bacon, and had to use finely diced bits of a fatty Soviet mystery sausage that had a lot in common with gristly baloney.  Still, the other US students didn't know how to cook at all and had been living on bread and cheese for a month by that time, so they all gathered round and ate big bowls from my huge vat of mystery-fish chowder.  I guess it can't have sucked *too* badly. 
 
Julia Winter
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Chowder!  I just finished off some cockle clam chowder, from cockles we collected at Netarts Bay on the Oregon coast.  Yummy.

It was pretty much as described above, start with bacon, move on to onions, then potatoes and celery, milk and clams.  Oh, and clam juice, as much as you have.

When we were at Netarts Bay I made a crab bisque that was amazing.  We weren't too successful catching Dungeness crab, but we got a bunch of red rock crabs, which are hard to shell (only their claws are big, the other legs are spindly).  I put the leftovers from our attempt to eat rock crabs in the pressure cooker, brought it up for only 10 minutes and let it cool down on its own.  That was some awesome crabby broth!  The key to success with the bisque was cooking all these vegetables until soft, then pureeing it into a smooth soup.  Last, you throw in the chunks of crab meat.  Divine.  (Crab bisque didn't have potatoes, I think.)

Pressure cookers are the bomb at creating broth.  I used to cook chicken bones forever, but I've decided that it tasted better after just a few hours than after, like, two nights and a day.  (Yes, I would do that, the pressure cooker only needed its burner to be on like 1.2 out of 8 and it would hold the pressure.)
 
Dan Boone
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Julia Winter wrote:Chowder!  I just finished off some cockle clam chowder, from cockles we collected at Netarts Bay on the Oregon coast.  Yummy.

It was pretty much as described above, start with bacon, move on to onions, then potatoes and celery, milk and clams.  Oh, and clam juice, as much as you have.


Of course!  I should have mentioned -- but I had forgotten -- that this was my mother's clam chowder recipe, repurposed for what we had.  We moved to the Yukon from southeast Alaska, where she grew up as the daughter of a commercial fisherman.  Clam digging was a family activity before we moved (I was just a rug rat back then) and chowder was how we ate the clams.  We traditionally ate a meal of clam chowder (made from canned clams, perforce) and steamed black bread (that they also used to sell in cans, though I have not seen it in years) as a Christmas Eve tradition-meal, the way some people eat black eyed peas at New Years. 
 
Tyler Ludens
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Oh my!  Someone else who remembers Bread In A Can!  I loved that stuff!
 
Deb Rebel
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Oh my!  Someone else who remembers Bread In A Can!  I loved that stuff!

This stuff?

https://www.amazon.com/Brown-Bread-Raisins-Oz-Can/dp/B0062MZGTK/ref=sr_1_9_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1472762416&sr=8-9&keywords=canned+bread ; with raisins

https://www.amazon.com/M%C2%AE-Brown-Bread-Plain-Pack/dp/B00FL41H4S/ref=sr_1_5_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1472762416&sr=8-5&keywords=canned+bread without

We always used to have some of this without raisins at Christmas. I picked the 'small' amount, they sell these in 6 and 12 cans as well....

The one that always got me was gelled cranberry sauce, and we would always remove both ends and plurp it out still can shaped, to plop onto the tray, and also just slice like bologna and serve.
 
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