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So, the other week, Mr. Chat made a lamb roast. And though the lamb was stupidly expensive for being so out-of-season, we rubbed it with herbs and lemon juice, pushed garlic into it, and roasted it, and it was quite good. But then we were left with two meaty lamb bones just chock full of flavor.

I decided this was the perfect excuse to learn to cook with a soup bone. You're supposed to put them in a pot (since mine were pre-roasted, no additional roasting was required) and cover them with cold water, bring to a boil, simmer for a while, pull out the bones and scrape and chop off the meat, and then put everything back and cook it some more. Then you can go ahead and add the rest of the soup ingredients.

I thought I'd do that, and then use the stock to make this beef soup recipe I found (cheaper by far than getting more lamb). Except I decided to use the biggest pot that I own, because I was cooking for six, and it took so much water to cover the bones initially that when the stock was supposedly done, it didn't really taste of much except vaguely lamby, herby water. Figuring I could adjust seasoning as I went (I watch cooking shows, dang it!) I just increased my ingredient amount and made the beef soup (with beef stew meat, yukon gold potatoes, carrots, peas, garlic, and barley).

Alas, when all was supposed to be done, the broth tasted of nothing but a touch of salty, vaguely meaty water.


Now I was in full rescue mode. In order to bring the flavor up to par and thicken the consistency, I added the following, one at a time, until I had achieved a richy, flavorful, meaty broth.

8 packets of Swanson's beef broth booster
4 chicken bullion cubes
Many shakings of onion salt
Many shakings of pepper
Heaping quarter cup of flour
A full tube of double-concentrated tomato paste
Using the broth from the pot, I turned two cups of the broth into thick gravy with a packet and stirred it back in
More onion salt and pepper
A handful of flour

The gravy packet and the flour I think were the real saviors for richness and thickness, and the tomato paste saved the flavor and added good color.

The result was the "best beef stew I'd ever tasted," from some friends who have had a lot of stew in their life. Huzzah!

The lesson learned here is, when life throws you watery soup, throw gravy back at it! :D


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 22nd, 2012 02:43 pm (UTC)
Haha! So glad you could rescue it! That sounds awful yummy! I love lamb.

There may be lots of ways to cook with soup bones, but here's what little I've learned:
- Use as little water as you can get away with and let it reduce down to half at least twice. That is, if you start with two quarts, let it simmer until you have one quart of broth, then add another quart of water and simmer until you have one quart of broth.
- Works best if you add an onion, some celery, and carrots with the bones. Leave in the whole time. the onion/celery/carrot combo is a chef standard called mirepoix.
- A bone adds a lovely additional flavor to anything cooked for a very long time, like in a crockpot overnight. Anything cooked for only an hour or two isn't long enough to extract much flavor from a bone.
- If at all possible, break the bone before cooking. Put it on concrete and hit it with a hammer a few times. A bone that is already in cross section, like a chop bone or a T-bone, is fine as is. Small, porous bones like those on chickens and turkeys are fine as is, too. But a long, solid bone like for a bone-in ham or whole rib bones need to be broken to let the flavor out.
Dec. 23rd, 2012 05:09 am (UTC)
Ya, the website I was using was very scanty on the quantities and sizes and whatnot to use for soup-bone-broth making. Also on the breaking before using. I know about mirepoix, but I have a special distate for onions (and to a lesser extent, celery). Even cooked to softness, I abhor the texture. I don't mind onion flavor, but having onions themselves in the soup would preclude me from eating any of it. Hence the onion salt.

I did cook it for quite a few hours (I actually started it on Wednesday night at about 1am (I'm nocturnal due to my work schedule), cooked it until about 8am, and then stuck it in the fridge until about 4pm on Friday and then started with my rescue attempts. :D The meat turned out tender, though the potatoes could have used more time.
Dec. 22nd, 2012 03:23 pm (UTC)
Ahhh... soup from bones! I've mostly make broth with my turkey bones but have ventured a few times with ham to make a ham & bean soup. game_byrd is right about using the mirepoix and letting the stock reduce twice before adding the main ingredients.

I've never ventured anything with my crockpot yet, but I have spiral sliced ham for the holidays ...

Cheers and Good Eats!
Dec. 23rd, 2012 05:10 am (UTC)
Yeah, the website was a little short on tips like that; it just gave basic technique without adding anything about additional flavoring, reducing, or quantities. Well, live and learn, eh? Tips are always good!
Dec. 23rd, 2012 07:12 pm (UTC)
This is DEFINITELY above my paygrade with my very little tentative cooking experience, but I just had to say that I approve of gravy with pretty much anything lol.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )



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