No, I’m not talking about the 1930s Marx Brothers film, but rather the soup I’ve made out of the duck carcass from last weekend. Very simple process, and it made the kitchen smell like spring rolls🙂 It doesn’t actually have any meat in it other than the stock, but a decent stock can change a soup from mediocre to full-bodied and delicious. If you wanted to do a vegetarian/vegan version then a vegetable stock would suffice, or a chicken stock if you don’t have a handy duck carcass lying around. I served it with some pretty successful experimental rolls.
For the Stock:
1 duck carcass, including giblets if you have them (but minus liver)
Large bunch of fresh tarragon
- Place all your ingredients in a pan and cover with cold water. You can also add any other odds and ends you fancy at this point – different herbs and veg etc. I’ve been putting all my veg peelings into the stock bag, and have also added the peelings from the soup veg. I also put in some fat from a steak which I cooked the other day, as I figured I might as well do something with it! A small word of warning – cabbage and broccoli etc aren’t very good for stock as they tend to overpower everything else.
- Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer for several hours for everything to leach its flavours into the cooking water. Go back to it every now and again and top up the water if it’s looking low. If (like me!) you put in too much water, leave the lid off to reduce the liquid slightly. I ended up decanting it into my slow cooker, as I figured it would probably be a bit more energy efficient that way.
- Once it has been going for a few hours and looks like a gloppy pan full of brown liquid, strain it into a clean pan or bowl. Leave the liquid to cool and put it in the fridge until required. You can throw away all the stuff if you like, but I like to pick through mine for any salvageable meat and veg and add this to the soup or mash it all into a paste to thicken the stock and add more flavour.
- Once cooled, if your stock-making has been a runaway success, it should have turned gelatinous, and any fat will have floated to the top and set (especially if it’s been in the fridge). You can skim the fat off to make your dinner slightly healthier. If the stock is still quite watery, try reducing it on top of the stove before use, otherwise it won’t be particularly flavoursome.
For the Soup:
1/2 Squash (usually I would use butternut, but seasonal Onion Squash are currently on offer, so I’ve used that instead)
Ground coriander, paprika, cinnamon, salt
- Chop up your veg and place in a pan with the spices. Leave the chilli whole. I also don’t bother de-seeding or peeling the squash, but you can do if you want. Drizzle with olive oil, and mix it around to get a good distribution off all the yumminess.
- Roast at 180OC / 350OF / Gas Mark 4 for around 30 minutes, or until everything is nice and browned on the edges and soft in the middle. This can be done in advance of making the soup (I roasted everything at the same time as making the stock and then put the veg in the fridge once cooled).
- Put all the veg except the chilli into a saucepan and add enough stock to cover. Warm through and then blend with a hand blender until smooth. Add more stock as required until the desired consistency is achieved (I like mine thick and substantial), and season with salt, pepper and the roasted chilli to taste – I added about half to mine.
- WARNING! Don’t do what I did and leave it to warm up on the hob without a lid on and wander off. Cue a very embarrassed Gemma, A Man being quite amused and a kitchen covered in soup (including all the dishes I’d just washed up) :(
- The experimental rolls were made by adding some roasted red pepper and tiny cubes of halloumi to an ordinary white bread recipe, and baking on the pizza stone. I’d definitely do it again, though maybe cook them a bit longer next time.