Easy peasy, five minutes to prepare
As I was a little off-colour last night, and our budget doesn’t stretch to takeaways, we had a meal straight from the freezer: a small roast lamb joint, bought from Asda for £5, plus frozen *roast potatoes, £1/kg, and frozen mixed vegetables, 75p/kg. Served with onion gravy, £0.71 for 200g. Works out at £1.29 per person. This was followed by Banana Mess, as posted previously. I wasn’t expecting a great deal of meat for a fiver, but most of what had initially looked like a reasonably-sized piece of meat was actually bone.
What to do!
The healthy-cook-on-a-budget asks how far they can stretch the ingredients of each meal, with as little wastage as possible, so I decided to save the hunk of bone, refrigerate it, and make a stock, which will then form the basis for a vegetable soup which we will eat this evening.
Here’s how to make stock:
1 carcass (e.g. the remains of a roast chicken) or large bone (e.g. remains of a lamb joint)
Discarded vegetables (if you have them), such as tops and tails of carrots or celery, potato peelings, onion skins, etc.
Half an onion, chopped
1 teaspoon *Herbamare seasoning salt
2 teaspoons dried *mixed herbs or *bouquet garni
Anything else you think may add to the flavour, such as soy sauce or a teaspoon of yeast extract or a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, according to your preferences. You may even choose to add some garlic.
Large saucepan or stockpot
1. Soften the onion in a large pan. This brings out the flavour and makes it less bitter. You can add 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil to the pan to do this, or simply ‘sweat’ them gently, over a low heat, until they are soft.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and top the pan up with water until the water line is about 6cm below the rim of the pan (you don’t want it to bubble over – this is annoying and makes a mess).
3. Cook gently for several hours. This can also be done in the slow cooker.
4. Strain through a colander and, if necessary, a sieve.
Et voila! Stock, which can be frozen for future use or used to make soup.
*Frozen roast potatoes are a handy thing to have in the freezer. Asda’s own brand are low in fat.
*Herbamare can be purchased in your health food shop, or online
*Asda smartprice dried mixed herbs cost pennies
*Bouquet garni can be bought in little bags, or you can make your own, see here