This isn't much of a recipe, but it's all I've made so it's what I've got to post about. The only thing that's really noteworthy here, if anything, is that I made the stock from scratch first.
This morning, I loaded up my slow cooker with a medium turnip, a couple carrots, a stalk and a half of celery, half an onion and a couple cloves of garlic, all roughly chopped; thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper; a meaty beef shank well browned on both sides and enough water to get everything floating (nine cups which really was too much) and set the slow cooker to low and headed off to work.
When I got home I discovered that the vegetables were still surprisingly firm and the meat wasn't falling apart the way it should have been. Also, the broth was pretty bland. So I turned the cooker up to high and gave it an hour. That seemed to help a lot. I fished out the now cooked-out vegetables and the shank.
The vegetable are for the compost heap (or would be if I had one. Can I just bury them near my plants?) and the beef went into the refrigerator to firm up. Ideally, I'd like to let the soup cool and skim the fat at this point, but dinner time is approaching and I don't feel like starting from scratch at this point. So instead, I chopped up fresh turnips, carrots, celery and onions and fresh stew meat (The chunks of beef in the freezer turned out to be pork, but close enough.) to add to the pot along with some sliced mushrooms and half a cup of barley. I also dumped in some soy and Worchestershire sauce and a Tablespoon or so of Spice House's Milwaukee Avenue spice blend. I figure anything that's supposed to be good on steaks and chops should work here too. And another hour of simmering.
That should do it. I broke up and returned the beef to the pot and dished out a bowl to refrigerate down from tongue-scorching temperatures so I could check the seasoning. Hmm...in desperate need of salt and a bit greasy (although I'd have to add richness some other way if it wasn't), but otherwise quite good. The broth is clearly not just generic beef broth; the vegetables and herbs have added a lot of depth to it. And it's great to have vegetables that are both firm to the bite and actually deliver significant amounts of distinctive flavor.
So, was that useful at all? Even vaguely interesting?
I'll have something moderately better in a day or two and then I'm off to Columbus to visit my sister and I'm not blogging the Seder dinner. I might find my way to Jeni Britton's ice cream shop, but I'm guessing I'm really the only one who'd be interested in that.
I still need someone to take next week's share off my hands. Just post a comment and it's yours.