The weather has turned and winter has come. When the weather starts getting really cold I make my stone soup. This is certainly a budget friendly soup as well!
This soup does take a few days to make and is always left on to cook. That is why I call it stone soup.
There is the legend of the clever traveller who got people to give him the ingredients for his soup when he had none. He walked into a new town and knew no-one. He was also hungry. He unpacked his pot, made a fire, filled it with water and brought it to the boil with nothing but a stone in it. Soon people stopped next to the pot and asked the traveller, “what is in your pot?” The traveller replied, “I am making soup but don’t have any carrots. If you bring me some carrots I will put them into the soup and then you can share it with me.” The villager went and got the traveller some carrots and so the story goes on. Eventually the traveller had a hearty, delicious soup and had made many friends who came by to share in the soup which he had promised.
In my house we believe in sharing, especially good food. We named my mom’s soup (which was passed down to me), stone soup, as she used to start her soup at the beginning of winter too. She worked from home and had a number of staff (manual, unskilled labourers) working for her. Of course they all started off their day with a cup of that soup! There was always so much to go round because she just kept adding to it. Whatever was appropriate went into the soup, leftovers, cut offs from chunks of meat or the ends of vegetables like carrot tops. My brother and I used to have it for lunch when we came home as well. There was always bits of vegetables in it and bits of meat. It is filling, satisfying and warming.
Yes, you can make this soup in a slow cooker. I have made another, different kind of soup in the slow cooker which I have also posted after this one so if you want your soup soon, then make that one but there is something about the way this soup is made which makes it taste better.
Whole small turnip
Beef/chicken stock cube
A chunk of your choice of meat. OR leftover roast bone with some meat on it.
A packet of soup mix, flavour of your choice.
You start the soup off with a base. You can buy pre-packed soup base mixes in any supermarket or make your own. This one here is one I bought but always start off with some of the basics for flavour, like carrots, celery, onion/leek, turnip and a piece of meat. The meat is the secret to this soup recipe. Even if you don’t want a meaty soup you must throw in some sort of meat or bone from a left over roast. It adds to the flavour and you can discard it at the end if you don’t want to eat the meat. I usually use the left over from a roast, like lamb or gammon. If you don’t have that then any old piece of meat will do. A chop maybe. This time round I used a piece of pork fillet I had. I only cut off half as I used the other half. You don’t need much. If the meat is cooked that is fine. You may have leftovers from a braai or something, use it! I have never used boerewors though but there is a first time for everything.
Place all of this in a large pot of cold water along with some spices. I don’t need to tell you how much water. Use a big pot and cover the vegetables. I like the BBQ and Aromat spice combination but use which spices you like. There is a lot of water so it’s not going to taste very salty but you do need some sort of saltiness otherwise it will be tasteless. I also add in a beef/chicken stock cube.
Before you start, make sure you are going to be around the house for a couple of days as you can’t leave the soup cooking while you are not home.
Bring this slowly to the boil on a low heat. Stir it once or twice during the day. Let it simmer for most of the day. Cover it with a lid so as not to lose moisture. You do not want the water to boil away. I turn the stove down to 1 when I do this.
The soup will look like this picture at the end of day 1. Put it in the fridge overnight.
Take out the soup and bring it slowly to the boil again. Give it a stir. When it has started to simmer, take out the large chunky vegetables. What I do now is add those vegetables into the food processor and pureé them. It adds the goodness back in and fools your teenagers into eating vegetables! Add this back into the soup.
Add in your choice of vegetables that you are going to eat with the soup. (or none as the puree has been added).
Now I add in a packet of soup mix. I take the packet of soup (any flavour which you like) and mix it with about 850 ml of cold water. I just throw this into the pot. Stir it and now leave it to cook for the rest of day. Taste after a while and see if you want to add anything, like salt or other spices. Sometimes I have added in a tin of tomatoes because I have felt that it needed a tomato flavouring, or Worcestershire sauce for more saltiness or another beef cube for meatiness. It is up to you and what kind of flavours you like.
At the end of day two when you are ready to eat it, it should look like the picture in the bowl. I served this soup with buttermilk rolls which I made myself too and go down very well with kids! (Recipe to be posted soon).
Every lunch time when my son comes home he has one or two cups of soup with some buttermilk rolls and that does him until supper time! I eat a cup of soup for lunch, making sure I scoop up the vegetables and meat as well. It is a complete meal and that does me until supper time!
Keep putting the soup in the fridge at night and the next day you can just add in whatever you have in your fridge you don’t want to waste. You will have to top it up with water too but in order for it not to taste watered down and flavourless use the packets of soup.
Not only does this soup serve as a snack, mid-day meal or dinner starter, it makes the house smell delicious too and therefore welcoming.