There are days that challenge my commitment to farming. Like today. Cold, wet, slushy, rainy, soggy…sick cows, muddy pastures, backed up storm drains in the milking area, I am tired and feel sick….it goes on and on.
So, as an antidote to all the woes of the world I made soup.
We had a hog butchered at Home Meats in Shelton. They do an old-fashioned slow cure on their hams and bacon. Very tasty indeed. We had the ham for dinner earlier in the week and all that was left was a meaty bone. I tossed it in the crock pot this morning with a pound of white beans, a chopped onion, a couple bay leaves, 3 quarts of water and about 1/2 cup of pan drippings from roasting the ham. Pan drippings are my secret ingredient any time I need to give a soup or gravy a boost. Intense, smoky and salty, the pan drippings are strained and defatted and stored in a ziplock bag in the freezer. It is so salty that it doesn’t really freeze properly, just getting firm but not solid. A couple tablespoons adds life to potato-corn chowder, or gives an added layer of flavor to sausage gravy. #2 son is always saying, “Everything is a little better with some pig on it!” and I think he might be right.
This afternoon when the beans were cooked I tossed in a couple potatoes, peeled and diced and half-a-dozen carrots, sliced up. I stripped the remaining meat from the bone, chopped it up, tossed it in the pot and gave it a couple turns of the peppermill.
When we got in from doing chores this afternoon, chilled and soaked to the bone, it really hit the spot. It will be even better tomorrow but for tonight it was good enough!