The past couple of weeks really have been a soup filled fortnight in this frugal household. We have had three different types of soup and it is my honest opinion that the best has been saved for last. It has to be said that this soup, or broth, really benefits from the use of homemade chicken stock as it doesn’t have the rather salty taste that plagues shop bought stocks. This really allows one to control the seasoning of one’s dish, as one expects to be able to do. Indeed, so besotted have I become with the art of stock making that I think I shall soon post more recipes.
This soup is ninety-five percent my own recipe, however, there was one piece of advice I couldn’t help but heed; the inclusion of a single rasher of smoked bacon. Supposedly this tip comes from the soup making genius that is the mother of Jamie Oliver – mothers know best, I suppose. In fact, notwithstanding recent high levels of sarcasm, mothers clearly do know best as the single rasher of bacon really brings this dish alive, giving it a depth of flavour it would otherwise have lacked. It really is rather annoying that the one part of the recipe that was picked up from elsewhere really defines a dish which is supposed to be my own.
As one might expect this soup is incredibly versatile as the prefix of ‘rustic’ may suggest. At the time of cooking the only available vegetables were potatoes and carrots, so they were used. I suppose cabbage would also work rather well, not that I like cabbage in the least bit. So don’t feel bound if you have no carrots or potatoes to hand, let your imagination run wild – though not too wild, we don’t want a silly soup. One may also skip the homemade stock if one wishes, although this is not advised. If this is the case simply replace it according to guidance on the stock box.
• 1 litre of chicken stock, preferably homemade
• Any leftover scraps of chicken
• 1 rasher of smoked bacon, roughly sliced
• 300g of one’s chosen vegetables, I used potatoes and carrots
• 100g pearl barley, prepared according to packet instructions
• A handful of red split lentils
• Olive oil
1. Fry the sliced bacon in a little oil until golden in colour. Pour in the stock and bring to a simmer. Then add the vegetable, barley and lentils. Simmer, with the lid on, until the vegetables, barley and lentils are tender. Season to taste and serve with the ever optional slice of bread.
Cost: Including the cost of my stock, 25p, this soup should cost no more than 70p to make. That’s a rather difficult price to argue with, I think you’ll agree?