Soup On The Wood Stove, January, 2012.
Some facts: our finances continue to be terrible, we like cooking, winter is cold, soup is good, & we have a wood stove & a lot of cast iron enamel pots.
For most of January, our propane tank was really low & we couldn't afford to buy more, but we are allowed to cut wood off our property, so wood is free. This led to using the propane stove as little as possible, & coming up with creative ways to cook on a wood stove. Solution? Frequently SOUP.
(We boiled water for pasta & made red sauce & slow cooked bacon a lot too.)
It turned out to be a very good thing that we enjoy roasting a chicken as a cheap but really satisfying Sunday dinner & always make & can stock from any large meat thing we cook. Duck stock? Lamb stock? Yup. We moved a lot of frozen stock over to the new house, & we ate it in January.
Cheap Ass Back Woods Soup:
Place cast iron enamel pot on wood stove. Simmer an onion & garlic in a bit of chopped bacon from your freezer supply for just these occasions. Add chopped beef from some large cut of meat you have been using sparingly from Stop & Shop. Add homemade chicken stock, a potato if you have one, rice or barley or both, a can of whatever beans you have on hand, season, cumin, oregano, sage, touch of cayenne, or whatever you like. Simmer at wood stove heat, stirring occasionally. Eat, hopefully with free day old bread & expired cheese from your work (one of my perks.)
Delicious. Keep reheating for lunches until gone. Repeat.
A tiny rant: I hate eating cheap meat. That really bothers me. I am a committed meat eater after many years in my teens & twenties of vegetarianism & veganism & my decision to eat meat is well thought out & firm but I hate supporting the meat industry that brings the cheap grocery meat to our tables. But what we can afford is the cheapest thing the grocery store has.
I can't wait until we get to the producing our own meat level. It'll happen pretty soon since we got straight run chicks with the intent of eating the males. It will be hard after knowing them from tiny fuzzy babies, but part of my eating meat agreement with myself is I be willing to kill it myself if I am going to eat it. If I can't do this, I guess it is vegetarianism for me once more.
For right now? We eat small amounts of meat & lots of kale (also one of the cheapest things at the grocery store, & way less troubling than the cheap beef).
That was a lot of opinion for one post. Dear me.
I shall leave you with this: having a wood stove in your kitchen is very nice, & looking out the window while cooking on the wood stove to chickens is even nicer.