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Soup, Stock & Scotchness

3:35 pm, October 16, 2012

As the REM song says “We could talk about the weather” but that, along with the weather, is too dull. Lets just say soup hasn’t left the kitchen table during our summer. Hearty, warming, thick and delicious, enough to cheer up any dreich day. Whats your favourite?

Soup is always on my weekly list. Thick & chunky, with big bits of veg in it, close to a stew. The Hungarians get it spot on with Goulash, necessarily eaten in a shallow bowl with a spoon and just liquid enough to dunk a chunk of crusty bread into. Peasant food.

Given our trade, soups here are usually meaty. Tomato got a look in the other day and judging by the glut of beetroot in our veg plot Borscht will be next. But I’m inherently lazy, my favourite place is on my sofa, and soup is also easy, one pot, a bit of chopping, hey presto, you have a hot lunch for a whole week of terrible weather. There is, however, one serious soup rule: decent stock, & that is made with meat bones. Go on, release that bone marrow into your soup. You can get so much taste and flavour from stock bones by just covering them with water, bring to the boil, and then leave to simmer for a couple of hours. The addition of a few vegetables elevates your stock but its not critical.

Here’s my recipe for Beef Stock to get you started. Chicken stock is the same, just different bones. You can roast the bones beforehand for about 45 mins for beef and 30 mins for chicken, if you want a darker coloured, Sunday roast flavoured stock.

Lamb is a little different though. I believe that Scotch Broth is one of our National culinary classics, akin to Goulash. It’s simple, and uses the very best of Scottish produce: mutton or lamb, seasonal veg and barley. I’m doing a tasting at the Edinburgh Farmers Market this Saturday 18th October, if you’re interested come down, get a free cup of soup and have a soupy haver. I’ve attached the recipe for it here. The best thing about Scotch broth is you make the stock and the soup all in one go.

Oh, even easier – now, where’s that sofa?