Winter on the Farm: Heartwarming Food for Colder Months by Matthew Evans, EPUB, 1742665470

December 1, 2017

Winter on the Farm: Heartwarming Food for Colder Months by Matthew Evans

  • Print Length: 256 Pages
  • Publisher: Murdoch
  • Publication Date: October 1, 2011
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0086QQAGI
  • ISBN-10: 1742665470
  • ISBN-13: 978-1742665474
  • File Format: EPUB







sleep-in food

cosy lunches

rib-sticking dinners

puddings and sweet things





Winter. Just the word has a ring to it; a sense that, even if you’re closer to the equator than I am, it’s a time of cold weather and mittens, beanies and long overcoats. Winter, by its very nature, seems to suggest steamy breath, frosty mornings and windows fogged up by slow cooking.

Winter is a season to be adored on the farm. A time of hibernation, with less work to do in the garden and more excuses to pull up the pouf, get out the granny rug for the legs and read a book. Trees are stripped bare, letting the low sun shine golden when it appears. On rainy mornings mist as thick as meringue clings to the top of hills surrounding the valley. The ground crackles underfoot after strikingly cold clear nights, when you have to break the ice in the cow’s water trough.

The start of winter is signified by the sound of chainsaws and splitters, as the last of the firewood is stacked and dried — a job best started in summer, but always improved if the stack is large. We fire up a Rayburn woodfired cooker in the cooler months, the water jacket at the back heating our showers to scalding. In this cooker tougher meats are rendered to buttery softness overnight, the house filling with smells of lamb with wild fennel, beef in stout, or duck cooked in a little red wine. The aroma of slow-cooked beans or chickpeas with meats wafts up to my bedroom from below and my dreams are laced with grand meals.

Mid-winter and the vegetable garden is full of leafy greens ready for picking — kale, cauliflower and broccoli, along with ox heart cabbages and the last of the carrots and beetroot. Nights are long and drinks warm. The thermometer offers an excuse to stay indoors for cups of tea with biscuits. It is an excuse always at hand and often used.

By the end of winter the asparagus has started to break the earth. Artichokes have begun to ball up ready to flower. Rhubarb, some at least, is on its march and the days are longer, if not exactly warmer. Garlic is in the ground, but not doing much. Broad beans are leafy, but a long way from producing a crop. The ewes are heavy with lamb and the chooks have started laying again. Snow can be seen on the caps of wild peaks in the distance, and the pigs are foraging longer into the evening. The wattle flowers across the valley and daffodils that have pushed their way through the soil in the yard release their cheery smiles. Spring is just around the corner, but there’s still time for pork chops with mustard and beer, a white bean and sausage soup, and plenty more steamed marmalade pudding.

Sleep-in food

The nights are long, gloriously long and the days abbreviated by winter. It’s easier, I find, to lie in when there’s little light and the day outside is yet to shake off its frosty cover. This is the time for cooked food, for hot honeyed polenta with stewed apple or eggy French toast stuffed with the preserved fruits of autumn. Winter pancakes are laced with salted caramel pears and finished with rum. The corned beef from a couple of nights ago is turned into hash and topped with an egg. Tea is brought steaming into the bedroom and the coffee machine works overtime. Whatever else there is to do, it’s time to linger over brunch.


The perfect date and banana porridge

Mushrooms on toast

Breakfast semolina

Corned beef hash

Honeyed breakfast polenta

Yoghurt pancakes with drunken brown sugar salted pears

Cardamom-scented rice pudding with baked rhubarb

Wilted cabbage, garlic and bacon with hot English mustard

Roasted onions and goat’s cheese baked custard

Warm spiced apple juice

Spiced hot chocolate

The perfect date and banana porridge

(and it doesn’t have to take hours to cook)

serves 2

Good hot porridge is better than a duck-down doona. Better than a hug from Mum or a hot bath and warm slippers. Yet, winter’s marvellous breakfast food seems to be filled with mystique. Some think it takes hours to cook. Some aren’t sure what the texture should be like (not soupy, but runny enough to pour most of it from the pan). For some reason we don’t have the few minutes it takes to cook porridge, which is a shame, as the instant alternative tastes a lot like floor sweepings pretending to be oats. Good oats for porridge are soft. Ideally they’re rolled between stones (there are some out there), but most importantly the oats mustn’t be hard or firm. The best oats for porridge have a soft, downy look to them when you peer through the bag. Ideally you’d soak the oats in water overnight and cook them for an hour, but you don’t have to. Always start with cold water, you can add boiling water later.

100 g (3½ oz/1 cup) soft rolled (porridge) oats

a generous pinch of salt

4 big fleshy fresh dates, chopped (if using dried dates, add to the oats at the start of cooking)

1 ungassed ripe banana (see note), chopped

pouring (whipping) cream or milk, to serve

soft brown sugar, to taste

Put the oats in a saucepan with at least 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) cold water. Place over high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, then add about 375 ml (13 fl oz/1½ cups) water (cold or boiling, depending on what kind of hurry you’re in). Stir minimally and simmer very gently for about 5 minutes, or until the texture is creamy, but definitely not gluey (if you’ve pre-soaked the oats, they won’t even take that long). Stirring them or using dodgy oats (such as instant porridge) will make it gluey. Tip in a little hot water if it’s too thick. Add the salt, dates and banana and cook for 1 minute longer. Stir in a little cream and brown sugar, then serve the porridge hot with more cream and sugar on the table.


Organic bananas aren’t gassed, so they ripen slower and taste better. Non-organic bananas can be used, too.

Mushrooms on toast

serves 4

Roasted mushrooms are heavenly on toast. Try to buy big mushrooms because they have a lot more flavour, and if you can chargrill your bread it’ll taste so much better. If you use small mushrooms be aware that they will cook more quickly.

1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) field mushrooms or Swiss brown mushrooms

2 bay leaves

2 thyme sprigs, torn into pieces

a goodly amount of extra virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves

8 generous slices sourdough bread, chargrilled or toasted, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4).

Toss the mushrooms in a bowl with the bay leaves, thyme, olive oil and garlic. Arrange in a single layer on a baking tray and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the mushrooms have become tender, dark and wonderful.

Serve the mushrooms hot on chargrilled bread, or keep them for an antipasto platter.

Breakfast semolina

serves 2–3

Yes, you may have grown up eating it. And yes, it does still taste just as good, like nursery food should. Semolina is comfort food at its most basic — a warm, milky gruel with a moussey texture that just has to have jam stirred in to make it exciting. Joanna’s Jam is the best bought version I’ve found in Tasmania. You can finish this dish with two drops of rosewater and serve with a sprinkling of chopped pistachios if you want to be fancy.

1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) milk

130 g (4¾ oz/2/3 cup) coarse breakfast semolina

a generous pinch of salt

raspberry jam, to serve

Put the milk, semolina and salt in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring constantly so it doesn’t form lumps. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until the consistency is nice and thick.

Serve the semolina in bowls with the raspberry jam on the table. Add a spoonful of jam to each bowl of semolina and nibble a little of this with each mouthful.

Tell me a joke and sing me a song, stroke my brow gently and cuddle me along. It’s the weekend today, with comforting food, so let’s have a slow brekky to get me into the mood.

Corned beef hash

serves 4

The trick to making good hash browns is getting the potato to stick together. I reckon this is best done by par-cooking them to change the starch’s character — but beware, as cooking times will vary enormously depending on varieties and the age of the potatoes you use. This recipe makes a modest amount, so I suggest making a big batch to use over coming days. Plan on making it after having corned beef for dinner if you want to avoid double work.

400 g (14 oz/about 2) white-fleshed potatoes such as desiree or king edward, washed, unpeeled

200 g (7 oz) corned beef, shredded with your hands

butter, for frying

¼ leek, white part only, finely chopped (or use onion)

4 poached free-range eggs, to serve

sambal oelek or tomato sauce (ketchup), to serve

Steam or boil the potatoes whole until they’re nearly cooked, but retain some firmness. Rinse in cold water until they are cool enough to handle, then use a knife to rub off the skin (this works best while the potatoes are still warm). Mash or coarsely grate the potatoes.

Mix the warm mashed potato with the corned beef and season with salt (remembering the corned beef is salty) and freshly ground black pepper.

Melt a little butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the leek and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add to the potato and corned beef mixture and allow to cool.

Divide the potato mixture into eight portions and use your hands to roll each portion into a ball — you may need to mash it all up and press it together to get it to stick.

Heat a little more butter in a large, heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Gently squash the potato balls into the pan to make patties and cook for about 3–5 minutes, or until deep brown on one side, then turn and cook the other side, adding just a touch more butter if you like.

Serve the corned beef hash with soft poached eggs and perhaps some roasted mushrooms and sambal oelek on the side.

Honeyed breakfast polenta

serves 2–3

This is a wonderfully light gruel that goes really well with berry jam if you run out of honey. Just replace the honey with the same amount of sugar, and use jam on top. You can also use a compote of dried fruit instead of the jam.

500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) milk

190 g (6¾ oz/1 cup) polenta

a good knob (25 g/1 oz or whatever your cardiologist will allow) of butter

1 tablespoon good-quality honey, plus extra, to serve

a generous pinch of salt

Put the milk and 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) water in a saucepan over high heat. As it comes to a simmer, sprinkle in the polenta, stirring the whole time — you don’t want it to form clumps. Bring back to the boil, stirring continuously, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the polenta has a nice porridge consistency (if it spits, and it well may, a lid helps cut down on the cleaning).

Add the butter, honey and salt and stir well to combine. Serve the polenta with extra honey passed separately so people can sweeten the polenta to their liking. It also tastes great with hot stewed fruits dolloped on top.

Thank goodness for honey. For the bees that fertilise the garden, the flowers and the wattle that lines the creek bed. I eat so much of the nectar, scented by the blossoms of prickly box or leatherwood or stringy bark, that I sometimes feel like Winnie the Pooh. With a penchant for cake.

Yoghurt pancakes with drunken brown sugar salted pears

makes 12 pancakes

I know a sweet young boy whose favourite joke is ‘What’s brown and sticky?’ The answer, of course, is a stick. But I actually can’t help thinking of brown sugar and pears when I think of brown and sticky. And who can go past pancakes stacked up underneath? Certainly not the little boy inside me. I like to use two pans to cook pancakes so it speeds up the process. Put the oven on to warm the plates and to keep the pancakes hot as you go. If you don’t have any plain yoghurt, use 1 tablespoon of lemon juice with an extra 2 tablespoons of milk.

50 g (1¾ oz) butter, plus extra, for cooking

2 large ripe pears, peeled, quartered, cored and cut into thick slices

3 tablespoons soft brown sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon brown rum

2 eggs

1 tablespoon caster (superfine) sugar

250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) milk

3 tablespoons plain yoghurt

135 g (4¾ oz) self-raising flour

pouring (whipping) cream, to serve

To make the drunken pears, heat 20 g (¾ oz) of the butter in a saucepan or frying pan over medium heat and gently cook the pears for 5–8 minutes, or until softened. Add the brown sugar and half of the salt and stir to dissolve. Remove from the heat and add the rum. Set aside.

To make the pancakes, beat together the eggs, caster sugar and remaining salt, then whisk in the milk and yoghurt. Add enough flour to get a thick consistency that will still pour from a ladle — you can always add more milk or flour as you go. Melt the remaining butter and stir through.

Heat a little extra butter in a frying pan over medium–low heat and ladle in 2 tablespoons of the pancake batter to make a circle with a 10 cm (4 inch) diameter. Cook until it is brown on the underside and bubbles appear on the top, then turn it over to brown on the other side. Remove to a plate and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining batter to make 12 pancakes in total.

Serve the pancakes in stacks with the pear spooned over (including any juices) and the cream on the table.

Here’s the deal. You make me a cuppa to have in bed, and I’ll cook brunch — something to celebrate winter. Something satisfying, rich and very sweet. Oh all right then, if you ask me nicely and let me lie in for another ten minutes, I’ll do both.

Cardamom-scented rice pudding with baked rhubarb

serves 4–6

In some places rhubarb grows throughout the year, making it the perfect foil for a hot milky pudding. I’ve suggested having this for breakfast, mainly because I often bake it in the cooling woodfired cooker overnight, but it’s just as good after dinner, or instead of dinner on a day when you don’t really mind.

baked rhubarb

1 small bunch rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 3 cm (1¼ inch) pieces

70 g (2½ oz/1/3 cup) soft brown sugar

rice pudding

625 ml (21½ fl oz/2½ cups) milk

125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) pouring (whipping) cream

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

5 large cardamom pods

1 vanilla bean, split lengthways

90 g (3¼ oz) raw (demerara) sugar

80 g (2¾ oz/1/3 cup) short-grain white rice

Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F/Gas 7). To make the baked rhubarb, arrange the rhubarb in a single layer in a baking tray and sprinkle over the sugar. Bake for about 10–15 minutes, or until tender. Set aside until ready to serve. Baked rhubarb will keep stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Reduce the oven temperature to 140°C (275°F/Gas 1).

To make the rice pudding, place the milk, cream, lemon zest, cardamom and vanilla bean and seeds in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat and leave to stand for 15 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse. Discard the vanilla bean and pour the mixture into a 20 cm (8 inch) round casserole dish. Add the sugar and stir until it dissolves, then stir in the rice until well combined.

Bake the pudding for 1½ hours, or until cooked, stirring occasionally if you feel like it. I don’t because I like the ‘fly’s walk’ or the skin that forms on the top of rice pudding. I tend to find the pudding may be a little runny after 1½ hours, with the rice grains plump yet still retaining their integrity, but it will thicken up more as it cools.

Serve the pudding warm with the baked rhubarb, and keep the serving dish for the cook to scrape. You do have to avoid the cardamom pods, but I kind of like that buzz when you nibble on one.

Wilted cabbage, garlic and bacon with hot English mustard

serves 4

I got the idea for this dish from a visitor to my website, though I’m not sure it was winter where he was when he cooked it (Papua New Guinea, from memory). The spicy nature of the mustard is wonderful with the cabbage, but you may want to use dijon or similar if you don’t want the pungency. The dish is wonderful in its own right, though you could serve it as a side dish to a meat and use less bacon.

½ cabbage

2 tablespoons olive oil

300 g (10½ oz) thick bacon or speck, cut into strips

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1–2 tablespoons hot English mustard

Cut the cabbage into thick slices, then into 2–3 cm (¾–1¼ inch) squares. Rinse under cold water and drain in a colander.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook for 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Reduce the heat, add the garlic and stir for 1 minute.

Add the cabbage with any water still attached to the leaves and toss thoroughly to coat in the bacon mixture. Increase the heat until it starts to sizzle, then reduce the heat, cover, and cook for 5 minutes, or until the underside is starting to turn golden on the edges. Give the cabbage a toss, replace the lid and allow to cook for a further 5 minutes, then stir in the mustard and cook for another 1 minute to heat through. Taste for mustard and season with a little salt before serving.

Roasted onions and goat’s cheese baked custard

serves 6

Because farmhouse goat’s cheese is harder to come by in winter (they don’t milk the goats in the cooler months), you can use a vacuum-packed cheese in this wonderful vegetarian dish.

6 large onions

2 thyme sprigs

olive oil, for drizzling

10 eggs

1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) milk

200 g (7 oz) soft goat’s cheese

Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F/Gas 7). Quarter the onions without peeling them or cutting off the root end — this way they’ll hold together much better. Now peel each quarter carefully. Place in a roasting tin, drizzle over a little olive oil and toss gently to coat. Scatter with thyme and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast the onions for about 45–60 minutes, or until quite dark but not burnt, then remove from the oven.

Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Lay the onions in a 1.25 litre (44 fl oz/5 cup) capacity round baking dish or similar. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl, then whisk in the milk; season well. Pour into the dish over the onion and dot the cheese around. Bake in the oven for 30–40 minutes, or until the custard is set. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Warm spiced apple juice

serves 4

A woman next to my stall at the local growers’ market sells hot apple juice to the crowds to keep them warm. I’m in love with the idea and the taste, though I do like it more with a bit of brandy or calvados (apple brandy) added at the end.

500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) good-quality cloudy apple juice

500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) boiling water

1 lemon slice

1 cinnamon stick

8 whole cloves

brandy or calvados (optional), to taste

Put the apple juice and water in a saucepan over high heat and bring to the boil. Add the lemon slice, cinnamon and cloves, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until it is spiced to your liking. If you’re really up for a winter warmer, slip a little brandy or calvados into the glasses when you go to serve it.

Spiced hot chocolate

serves 4

Have you ever noticed the texture of hot chocolate in some of the best cafes? It’s a bit thicker than normal milk. The secret is in using a light starch to help the chocolate linger longer in the mouth — which means more sensation of chocolate without more chocolate. You don’t have to use the starch, just add a splash of cream if you like a richer mouthfeel.

800 ml (28 fl oz) milk

1 small cinnamon stick

1 whole star anise

1 vanilla bean, split lengthways

150 g (5½ oz/1 cup) chopped good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa)

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon rice or potato flour (optional)

1 tablespoon sugar

Put the milk, cinnamon, star anise and vanilla in a saucepan over high heat and bring nearly to the boil. Turn off the heat and let it stand for 15 minutes, with a lid on, to prevent a skin forming. Strain and reheat in a clean saucepan. Add the chocolate to the pan as the milk comes to a simmer and whisk until it has dissolved.

Whisk the cocoa and rice flour with a splash of water or more milk in a bowl, then add 2 tablespoons of the hot milk and whisk to combine. Whisk the cocoa mixture into the hot milk in the pan, return to the heat and bring nearly to the boil, stirring constantly. Add sugar, to taste, and serve hot.

Cosy Lunches

Starch — spuds and rice, polenta and pasta — food that isn’t hard to digest but doesn’t disappear in a minute. Food that fills that hollow feeling inside and lets you know you’ve eaten. Think, pasta e fagioli and pasta e ceci, dishes that could easily be classified as winter minestrone. Stoups — that strange hybrid of stew and a soup are the order of the day, as are one-pot meals that aren’t light on flavour and yet don’t challenge the cook. This is my idea of a sturdy meal — one that can fuel you through an afternoon of farm chores without giving you indigestion or leaving you feeling like you’ll never be able to eat again.


Beer, cheese and onion soup

Cawl (Welsh leek soup)

Sausage and white bean soup

Michelle’s sweet spiced oxtail and parsnip soup

Pea, ham and lemon soup

Mussels with white wine and chorizo

Pumpkin and meatball risotto

Semolina gnocchi

Pasta e fagioli

Cabbage and speck risotto

Pasta e ceci

Buckwheat pasta with potato, Taleggio and sage

Vodka-cured blue eye potato fish cakes

Taragna (buckwheat polenta)

White wine roasted chicken

Beer, cheese and onion soup

serves 6

This dark onion soup is a good dish for those days when you don’t have any beef stock; you can use water instead. Beer, while not essential, adds a savoury character to the sweet nature of the onions. The frying of the onions to get that dark golden but unburnt colour means it’s best if you’ve got quite a bit of time to spend hanging around the stove.

60 g (2¼ oz) butter or lard, or 3 tablespoons oil

8 large onions, very thinly sliced

a generous pinch of salt

3 thyme sprigs

1 bay leaf

100 ml (3½ fl oz) dark beer (but not quite stout)

875 ml (30 fl oz/3½ cups) beef stock or water

1 cup chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 small baguette, cut on an angle into 12 thick slices

200 g (7 oz/2 cups) grated gruyére cheese or other good melting cheese

Heat the butter in a large saucepan over low heat and cook the onion slowly, stirring often, until the onion is soft and turns a lovely golden brown — this could take a while, so allow at least 30 minutes. I like to add salt as the onion cooks to even up the cooking and help draw out moisture. As it cooks, add the thyme and bay leaf. Pour in the beer and stock, add the parsley and pepper and simmer for 1 hour.

To serve, top the baguette slices with the cheese and toast under a preheated grill (broiler) until golden. Ladle the soup into bowls and float two slices of bread on top, or serve it on the side.

Cawl (Welsh leek soup)

serves 8–10

This soup, pronounced more like ‘cowl’, traditionally uses meat stock; its variation is only limited by whatever meats or vegetables are on hand. You could use leftover pork broth from the twice-cooked shoulder or some of the juices from the Sicilian-style braised lamb shoulder. Alternatively, you could throw a bit of lamb in a pot with some water to make a broth, or just use water and let the brisket do the trick.

20 g (¾ oz) lard, bacon fat or butter

2 fresh bay leaves

2 large carrots, chopped

4 celery stalks, chopped

4 large leeks, white part only, rinsed and thinly sliced

3.5 litres (120 fl oz) meat stock, broth or water

3 thyme sprigs or a pinch of dried thyme

250 g (9 oz) chunk beef brisket

2 parsnips, chopped

4 all-purpose potatoes, such as pontiac, diced

350 g (12 oz/about ¼ small) cabbage, roughly chopped

Heat the lard in a large heavy-based saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid (cast-iron is perfect) over medium heat. Cook the bay leaves, carrot, celery and three-quarters of the leek for 8–10 minutes, or until tender but not brown. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil, then add the thyme and beef brisket.

Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for about 1½ hours, then add the parsnip, potato and cabbage and simmer for at least another 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are surrendering themselves to the broth and melting apart. Add the remaining leek and simmer for a further 5 minutes, or until just cooked.

To serve, you can strip the meat from the beef brisket and add back to the soup. Like a lot of soups, this one is excellent served the next day.

It was a frosty morning, hand-milking the cow. And the chooks seemed ravenous when I let them out of their coop.

I’ve spent an hour watching the graceful lines of Indian runner ducks trotting along just beyond the front porch and there’s a peaceful lowing on the breeze. Even if you’ve just fought the crowds at the shops and there are sirens in the air, at least soup makes it feel like you’re back on the farm.

Sausage and white bean soup

serves 6

Keep your old parmesan rind and ham skin to add extra flavour to soups like this, then simply discard them before serving.

1 tablespoon olive oil

300 g (10½ oz) pure pork sausages

2 large onions, diced

2 carrots, diced

3 celery stalks, diced

300 g (10½ oz) dried white (northern) beans, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained

50 g (1¾ oz) parmesan cheese rind

90 g (3¼ oz) ham or prosciutto skin

1.5 litres (52 fl oz/6 cups) roasted chicken stock

extra virgin olive oil, to serve

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or stockpot over medium heat and cook the sausages for 5–10 minutes, turning as needed, until well browned. Remove from the pan, cut into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

Add the onion to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened, then add the carrot and celery and cook for 5 minutes, without colouring. Return the sausage pieces to the pan, add the white beans, parmesan rind, ham skin and stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1½ hours, or until the beans are very tender. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper (remembering the snags, rind and skin will already be adding some flavour) and serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and crusty bread if you like.

Time to lay the table and time to talk. Time for lingering over slow-simmered soups. It’s winter, so there should be more time for the things that matter. And a lot of things that don’t.

roasted chicken stock

1 roasted chicken frame

1 onion, peeled, or use leek or green spring onion (scallion) trimmings

1 carrot, scrubbed

1 celery stalk

1 bay leaf

1 thyme sprig

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, roughly chopped

2 garlic bulbs, cloves peeled

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

800 g (1 lb 12 oz) all-purpose potatoes, peeled and diced

sour cream, to serve (optional)

To make the roasted chicken stock, put all of the ingredients in a large saucepan or stockpot over high heat. Add 2 litres (70 fl oz/8 cups) water and bring to the boil, skimming the surface of impurities as it starts to bubble. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 hours. Strain the stock, discarding the solids; you should have about 1.5 litres (52 fl oz/6 cups)of stock, though this varies on the pan and the rate it simmers. The stock can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

To make the garlic, potato and paprika soup, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and gently cook the onion for 5 minutes, or until softened but not browned. Add the garlic and cook for 3–4 minutes, then stir in the paprika and cook for 30 seconds without scorching. Add half of the diced potato and 800 ml (28 fl oz) of the roasted chicken stock, then season with salt and simmer for 15–20 minutes, or until the potato has softened.

Remove the pan from the heat, allow to cool slightly, then transfer to a blender or use a stick blender to purée until smooth. The soup should have a thinnish character, so add a touch of water if necessary.

Return the soup to a large clean saucepan, add the remaining diced potato and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Taste again for salt (the potato will have taken some of the seasoning) and serve immediately, possibly with a dollop of sour cream on top.


After his hugely successful definitive kitchen resource, “The Real Food Companion”, chef and renowned food critic Matthew Evans now brings us his latest cookbook, “Winter on the Farm”. With over 85 winter-warming recipes – from Winter Potato and Bacon Soup, and Stout, Beef Shin and Mushroom Pie to an exceptionally delicious Kentish Cherry and Elderflower Fruit Pudding – “Winter on the Farm” is the ultimate guide to cooking healthy and hearty winter food, and will inspire you to eat well during the colder, winter months. Key points include: over 85 delicious, hearty and accessible recipes; tried and tested recipes, including how to make your own stocks, slaw and pastry.


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