Scotch Broth Soup


Quite awhile back we decided that instead of continuing to buy beef from the store as needed, we would buy a cow, or at least part of a cow. We finally had a freezer big enough to hold it all and, while it would take a larger up front commitment, it would work out to be cheaper per pound (overall) than buying stuff from the store. The first time, not knowing how much we’d use in a year, we got a half of a cow. It lasted about 6 months. The next time then, we got a whole cow. Somewhere in there we bought a bunch of extra hamburger from the guy but that’s beside the point for this story.

It has worked out pretty well. There is never enough steaks but you make it work. Since we are getting a half or a whole cow, you get a little bit of everything. Including beef soup bones. Now I understand that you can make stuff with them (soup? It says so on the label) but for the most part, I’ve looked at those packages and said – “what the heck am I going to do with these?” – and left them sit in the freezer. In fact, I may still of had the ones from the half of a cow in there.

The downside has always been that I don’t make many soups. And while I could make broth out of them, most of the recipes I make call for chicken broth. So what do I need beef broth for?

Anyway, I finally decided that I would do something with them. Or at least some of them. There are quite a few. After some searching on the internet, I settled on this recipe for Scotch Broth Soup. Can’t say why it’s called that (there is probably some meaning I’m missing) but it sounded pretty decent.

And while I didn’t plan on doubling to soup itself, I decided that I would double the beginning part – making the broth – and have some to save. There I ran into a small problem. I measured out four pounds of the soup bones, put them in the larger of the two pots we have and started adding the water. The pot was nearly overflowing and I still needed to add four more cups. In the end, I decided to stick with only 12 cups of water and make a “concentrated” broth. Sounded good. I could have dug out our really big pot but it seemed like too much work, especially when I wasn’t going to need it for the soup.

It cooked for quite awhile, longer than the 2 1/2 hours it had called for. I really wasn’t paying that much attention to the time (I was multi-tasking other things) plus I was having issues with it simmering. Too low on the burner and it really wasn’t doing anything. Turn it up a bit and it was really bubbling. I am convinced that there is no such thing as a “gentle simmer”. Or maybe I just need a gas stove which has better heat control.

Anyway. Once done, I took the meat and bones out. Separated the meat and shredded it a bit. I strained the broth and measured back out what was left. I came up with 10 cups. Which is important for later but didn’t occur to me at the moment. So, since the recipe had called for 8 cups of water, I measured 8 cups of the broth and put it in the pot the other two went in a container to go in the freezer. I added all the meat (more than it had called for) and then the veggies. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really measure the veggies. I used one decent sized turnip, a small-ish onion and guessed on the carrots and celery. I tried to cut each of them into fairly small pieces so they would cook better.

After another simmer for about an hour it was looking good and tasted pretty good. The downside, seemed kind of watery (and yes, I know it’s soup). The recipe had called for some pearl barley but I had neglected to put that on the shopping list. So I added 1 1/2 cups of white instant rice. At that point I took it off the heat and just let it sit. I think that worked really well. The rice soaked up some of the liquid but still made it a soup.

Back to the liquid. Understanding that I started with 12 cups of water and ended with 10 cups means that I lost 2 cups along the way. So, if I would have started with 8 cups some amount would have been lost. I can’t do that math but you get the idea. I shouldn’t of added a full 8 cups back in. But, in the end it worked out with adding the rice so in the future, I may do it that way again. Or, if I only make one batch of the broth the start, I won’t have that issue but we’ll see where we end up needing rice or not.

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