After posting that no-waste thing, I had to go and clean out the fridge. I confess to wasting a half dozen eggs and a small carton of yoghurt with use-by dates in February, and about 1/4 cup of stewed quince which was growing mould. And it was Earth Hour last night, too. Tut tut. Shame on me.
Anyway, I thought I'd go into more detail about leftover roast something or other soup, as it is one of those great classics that everyone should have up their sleeve.
Recipe: Leftover Roast Something Soup
1 leftover roast something or other
the baking tray from the roast
a celery stalk, with leaves
a handful of herbs
salt, to taste
old vegetables that look like they need using up (optional)
a handful of soup mix or pearl barley (optional)
frozen vegetables (optional)
Remove any huge obvious hunks of fat from the roast and the pan. Discard - or save if it's yummy duck fat or similar. Toss the roast in a very big saucepan, and add the onion, celery and carrot. Pour boiling water over the baking tray and give it a good stir to get up any bits. Add that to the saucepan. Toss in a handful of fresh herbs from the garden, or use a few dry ones. I like to get melodic with "parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme", but I seldom have the parsley. I usually include bay leaves, and some tarragon is nice with chicken. Add more water to cover. No salt!
Bring to the boil, skim off any scum, and let it simmer for a couple of hours. Remove the meat, and set aside. The carrot and onion may be worth keeping, too. Strain the stock, remembering that you want to keep the liquid, not the debris! Apparently this is a mistake that all cooks make at some time in their lives. Since I never have, I'm probably due to do it real soon now. Let the stock chill in the fridge, and remove all fat from the top.
Trim all useful edible bits off the roast, and throw away the bones and gristle. Put the stock in the saucepan, with any extra stock if using. Add soup mix or barley, if using, and simmer for half an hour, then add any uncooked hard vegetables that you want. Parsnip, swede, carrot, that sort of thing. Keep simmering until vegetables and soup mix are barely done. Add the leftover wine, the meat fragments, chopped leftover vegetables, frozen vegetables, noodles if you want etc. Simmer until done, then add salt to taste, and adjust as you wish. How about some pepper? Perhaps a squeeze of lemon, or some chopped fresh herbs, or a dash of worcestershire sauce.
Soup mix is a traditional English blend of dried lentils, peas, beans and grains. You can generally find it at supermarkets, in the teeny tiny dried bean section. Italian delis often have their own variant, for making minestrone - another great classic of the use'em up school. A pack of mixed dhal from an Indian shop could do well, too.
This will come out different every time. Sometimes it will be brilliant, and sometimes it will just be OK. You go with the flow, and don't try to re-create an especially good one - just enjoy your luck. In the last week, I made two of these soups, and the chicken one was really nice, but the lamb came out overly bland until I added worcestershire and pepper. The main thing is that this converts leftovers and odds and ends into a nice lunch for me or my guests. The bloke, however, is opposed to "soup with bits in". Unless they are tom yum or laksa. Go figure.