Sunday, October 23, 2011

Autumn soup recipe and other things.....

As I've said here before, I love soup!  Today seemed a good day to simmer up a pot full, so I tried an old recipe, new to me.  Scotch broth is traditionally made with lamb.    As much as I would like to support local sheep breeders, lamb is prohibitively expensive, and I could only find 'luxury' cuts - whole legs, frenched chops, 1.5 inch thick but still tiny loin chops, selling for double digits.   This dish is a simple 'peasant' dish and definitely needs a 'cheap' cut - with bones.  Bone-in meat is needed to make a broth properly.  That was also hard to find.  Beef short ribs now have no ribs (!!!) according to the butcher at Kroger.   I finally found a cross-cut slice of beef shank with a nice big bone to use.   

sorry for the dark photo - flash washed out the image so you could see even less

1-2 Tbs. Olive oil
1 lb   lamb or beef, shoulder, shank or other cut with bones. 
3 sm - med turnips
3 large carrots
2 stalks celery 
2-3 cloves garlic  
1/2 to 1 tsp. dried thyme
3/4 cup pearled barley
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

In a 3-quart pot, heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil.  When hot, add meat whole, and brown on both sides.  Add water to fill pot about half-way.  Cover tightly, simmer until meat is tender.  Remove meat from pot, and when cool enough to handle, remove any fat and gristle, returning bite-sized pieces of meat to the pot. 

Peel and dice turnip, carrots and celery.  Add to broth and meat.  Add garlic, thyme, salt and pepper and barley.   Simmer, tightly covered, for 1 hour, or until barley and vegetables are tender. Add water as needed. Adjust seasonings, and serve.

  • Even after browning the meat before cooking, the broth looked a little pale to me, so I added 2 beef bullion cubes.  
  • 3/4 cup of barley is plenty.  I might cut it back to 1/2 cup.
  • This is a thick, stew-like dish, especially with the amount of barley that is called for.  Cut back barley or increase water if you want it soupier.
  • I didn't see a lot of fat on my broth, so I didn't feel the need to skim the fat before I added the remaining ingredients.     
I had this for supper tonight with some crusty bread - I thought it was very good.

Other news around the homestead:  
The breeder I got my Orpingtons from asked me to post current photos on Backyard Chickens so she could see how they are developing, so I thought I would post them here too.

This is "Whatsit," - at least that's what I've been calling 'it' until now.  The breeder said she thinks it is a rooster.  It looks like one but is quiet, and not bothering the girls.  'Good thing, because I have no prospects right now for re-homing him.    

And this is Grace - aka Gracie, Gracie-Lou.....  she is significantly smaller than the other one and very sweet.  In some ways it's nice having a 'pair' in case I wanted to breed for more.  I would have to convince folks here that bantams are great.   For some reason, even the urban chicken-keepers in CLUCK all keep large fowl, and are leery of bantams.   I don't know why.  They are very sweet, and their eggs compare favorably in size with large bird's eggs.

Holly's back is much better, and she seems to be moving OK now, but......  (I'm such a bad mom)   She has never used the resting board I put in the cage for her. I didn't notice she was always laying - not only in one spot because her back hurt to move, but in a spot with lots of wool stuck to the wire.    Since she would pee where she lay, the wool was saturated ......and now she not only has sore hocks, but the wool is all burned off, and she's got a large raw ulcer on each leg!  I feel awful.   I stuck her in the sink and washed her well, then bandaged each foot after coating it thickly with neosporin.   After a short time, scabs formed on each foot, and I started giving her a 'blankie' to lay on - and keep the wounds dry, since she won't leave the bandages alone.  I change it every 2 or 3 days, when I see urine stains on it.  

Her personality has changed during all this.  She lets me take her out of her cage with no fuss, let me bathe, treat and bandage her multiple times, and likes nothing better now than to cuddle with me.   I think she would sleep with me if I let her.  No biting, no growling, no lunging with teeth bared........who are you and what have you done with Holly?

Speaking of sleeping with me, the first cold night we had this week (I haven't turned the furnace on yet) I had all 4 cats in bed with me all night- even Michu!!  It was funny, but they were snuggled so tight I couldn't move!

Until next time - from all of us - at Wren Cottage.


  1. Love your animals! You're doing wonderful!!

    If you have a mind to - take a gander of what Lisa Grace posted as a comment on my blog this afternoon. What do you recommend? Delete it? Respond? Ignore it? I'm fairly new to this and I'm not sure it's worth my time to look up Scripture to respond.

    Here's the link:

    I know following Him will bring persecution but why do people feel the need to save the world? Do they not understand that is God's job? Thanks again for your support!

  2. The soup sounds wonderful. i love turnips