The other day I was having what I thought was a philosophical conversation about my new found goal of doing things in life as "efficiently" as possible. I write "efficiently" this way because that is my definition of my new found philosophy. My wife just calls me cheap!
Anyways, my philosophical conversation (annoyance to my wife) ranged from why she should eat venison more often (my claim is that her hatred for venison stems from a childhood of her mom telling her she didn't like it.... not a wise statement on my part.) to why it does make sense to keep the house at 60 degrees at night once everybody is in bed. It does, doesn't it?
Back to the philosophical conversation... one of the best parts of the debate was when I used the example of making soup now vs making soup back in say the medieval times. You don't need to dump in a can of cream of this or cream of that to make soup I told her. Medieval times peeps didn't have cubes of dry beef broth (what is up with that stuff anyways!) to make soup.
Of course I didn't tell her my experience came from watching movies like Robin Hood with Kevin Costner when I was a kid (man I loved that movie) growing up. For some reason, I think she might have figured that out though.
OK. Now that I had a little fun describing the conversation, how does one make soup without dumping in a can or brick of something to make the soup taste better? The answer to this is really simple. To make homemade broth, you simply cook something like a bone from a ham or roast in a pot of water for at least a half hour. This will get the flavor out of whatever it is you are cooking.
That sounds like a pretty vague answer doesn't it? I say cook something because the possibilities or endless. You can use a ham bone, roast bone, fish head (don't know if I could go there), body of a pheasant or chicken, a bunch of veggies, a bunch of veggie scraps, chicken feet (gross but makes chicken noodle soup great), backstraps from a deer, chunk meat from a deer.... I could go on and on.
You can literally cook anything in water to get the taste out of it for your soup. Once you cook the item, simply pick off whatever meat is left on the bone, throw the bone out, add back the meat to your homemade broth plus beans or veggies.
To make homemade broth from meat without a bone (backstrap, steak, shoulder meat from a deer), cook up the chunks of meat in olive oil in a hot stainless steel or cast iron pan. After the meat has cooked for a bit, the crusty meat flakes will mix with the olive oil in the pan.
Once this happens, add water and use a spatula to loosen up all the bits. This is now your broth. Add other ingredients from the garden or fridge plus some dehydrated peppers for spice and you are in business.
As you can see, making homemade broth is very easy. Once you open up your mind to making soup like a peasant using homemade broth, cooking soup will never be boring. I have made so many different variations of soups from whatever I had in the fridge or the garden with a diminishing shelf life it is not funny.
All of my recipes would not win a cooking challenge but they all have been very nutritious and the price was right! I did not throw out the items I made the soup with and I had zero extra costs to make them in to soup. Sounds like a win/win situation for an "efficient" man like myself!