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This week's fresh chicken got split into roast dinner, sweet and sour, stir fry and then stock for soup. The chicken cost just under £5, (they were reduced to only £2.48 per kilo) and provided us with six individual meals plus enough meat left over for adding on top of pizza. (We love spicy chicken pizza.)
The catering facilities at Thrift Clottage are still slightly restricted (to say the least) and the plumber was working in the hall today, refitting the radiator, so it was very much a case of minimal food preparation space. As I had cooked the chicken on a wire rack in a roasting pan, there was very little fat left on it by the time the remains went into the slow cooker with about 3 litres of water. I didn't add the chicken skin, resulting in very little grease in the resulting stock. I simmered it for about 4 hours before straining off the liquid and returning it to the slow cooker.
To the stock, I added a teaspoonful of salt, a good pinch of herbs and 2 small onions from the garden, finely diced. This was kept simmering for a further half hour then I added in about 100g of dried spaghetti, broken into small pieces.
Calculating the cost of making the soup, the chicken carcase is classed as free - we've already had 6 individual meals from it. Electricity is averaged at 15p per kilowat hour (it's slightly less than that, but prices are increasing soon, so this should cover those changes) and my slow cooker is rated as 300w on low setting, which works out at about 4.5p per hour. In total, the soup took 5 hours to make from scratch and produced just over 2 litres, which is equivalent to about 5 tins of shop bought soup.
Cost to cook - 22.5p maximum
Cost of ingredients:
Teaspoonful of salt - 0.5p
A good pinch of mixed herbs - 1p
100g spaghetti (Asda Smartprice) - 8p maximum
2 small onions (mine were from garden) - 10p (at a guess)
Total cost of soup to make it from scratch = 42p to produce enough for close to 10 servings.
At less than 5p per serving, homemade soup is one of the most frugal foods you can possibly make. Loading it up with vegetables, grains and/or pulses makes it thoroughly nutritious and, even if it doubles the cost, it's still a very cheap meal at 10p per person.
I love soup and pudding meals during the winter months, they sit well with the porridge breakfasts. Today's chosen pudding was semolina served with a spoonful of homemade bramble jelly. We're real pigs in this household, so a pint of milk makes enough for only two servings. I use UHT skimmed for cooking - it's available for 49p per litre according to online store prices, but it's 55p per litre in my nearest store.
I don't need to remind anyone who reads this forum that we've just had our wild berry picking season here in Scotland, so jam stocks should be high. I haven't been able to make any at all this year but still have plenty of jars left over from previous jam and jelly-making sessions, plus plenty of berries in the freezer awaiting the completion of the new kitchen. (Not too long now!)