Here’s the short version:
Okay, so these are not, strictly speaking, recipes. They are more of a set of guidelines, really. Feel free to experiment: That’s how these were born. I needed some nutrient-dense food that I could take into the woods for a weekend of LARPing (Live Action Role Play – improv acting meets D&D, aka exercise in costume), so I developed stuff that could travel and store well. I will be using these for busy work weeks, too!
LARP Soup: First we start with…
Bone Broth: This is amazing stuff. Use it as a base for any kind of soup! Since I started making it, my nails have gotten crazy strong. It’s terrific to build immunity, too.
I like beef, and ideally I get grass-fed /organic bones, but I have to admit sometimes I just use the ones at Fred Meyer. Also, if I make a whole chicken or have wings, I save the bones in the freezer until I’m ready to make broth.
Throw as many as will fit into a crockpot, with a little splash of vinegar (that helps suck out the nutrients). Optional: an onion (sliced in big chunks) or carrots for flavoring. I keep a ziplock in my freezer to hold rinds from hard cheeses, veggie scraps, etc, and empty it into my next batch to deepen the flavor. I have done both fancy ones with everything in, and plain bones-&-vinegar. Use whatever you have. Add enough water to cover the bones. Set the crockpot to low. In a few hours, your house will smell amazing! If you like, add a bay leaf or two in the last few hours of cooking, not a whole bunch at the beginning as pictured here. This batch turned out too bitter. Bleech.
If you accidentally use too much vinegar, and your broth is sour, turn it into sweet & sour (or hot & sour, if you can tolerate nightshades) soup with a Chinese flavor profile. Google has a ton of recipes available.
After 24-36 hrs (or AN HOUR & A HALF, using an Instant Pot), use a slotted spoon to remove the bones and cooked-into-oblivion veggies. There will be a layer of oil on the surface. Do NOT attempt to “taste” the broth from that. It will not be a pleasant experience, trust me. Instead, pour all the liquid into a soup pot and put it in the fridge. When you come back to it, an hour or a day later, the fat on top will have congealed into a hard, white disc. Crack it like ice and peel the fat away from the gelatinous goodness underneath. You can save the fat for later use (it makes really tasty scrambled eggs) if you are into that sort of thing, or just chuck it. You can heat the bone broth and enjoy as is, or with a few add-ins like garlic or pepper.
If you want to continue to LARP soup, put your soup pot containing the freaky-looking beef jello on the stove, medium heat. Toss in kale, sliced mushrooms, carrots, yams, parsnips… whatever you like! I love adding natural bacon (cooked separately, first). Trader Joe’s has a great chicken sausage that works beautifully, too. Time your additions so veggies go in first, then meats, then pre-cooked meats. Don’t forget fresh crushed garlic, grated ginger, or any other favorite herbs along with salt, pepper, etc. When the kale is limp and dark, you are done! Remove from heat, serve, and bask in the praise of your loved ones. This freezes beautifully for reheating later. If that’s your plan, take it off the heat a little earlier.
PS – See my Instant Pot post for a secret weapon that makes getting the solids out of your broth quick and easy!