It is thought that ancient people would cook a lot of soups and stews, judging from the shape and size of early pottery, as well as lateral scrapes along the inside of the pots, likely from spoons scraping the edges during cooking. Without refrigerators, however, preindustrial societies had to find new ways to store their leftovers. Some would feed them to animals like pigs, which could store the calories as meat and fat, to be eaten later. Otherwise, yesterday’s meal could be folded in to today’s dinner by adding whatever was available. We decided to try this out.
First, we started with a split pea soup.
2 C split peas, soaked overnight in 4 C water with 1 t baking soda (to release gas-causing acids), drained and rinsed
Simmer in 10 C stock for 2 1/2–3 hours.
Ham bone, chicken carcass, or other flavoring meat (optional)
1/2 C chopped onion
1 C chopped celery
1/2 C chopped carrots
1 clove garlic
1 bay leaf
1/4 t thyme
dash cayenne or red pepper
simmer 30 minutes, remove bones, cool, and blend or push through a sieve.
2 T butter
Reheat soup, add salt and pepper to taste.
This is our go-to split-pea soup and goes great with toasted sourdough bread.
To the leftover split pea soup, we added:
1 C farro (a grain, could also be wild rice)
3 T butter
4 C stock
and simmered for 1 hour.
This added a nice chewy grain texture to the soup.
The leftover grain soup was blended smooth and turned into a curry sauce by adding:
2 T coriander
2 T cumin
1 1/2 T turmeric
2 t ginger
1 t ground mustard
1/2 t black pepper
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 t cardamom
1/2 t cayenne or chili pepper
(or just 3 T curry powder instead of the individual spices)
1 butternut squash, cubed
simmered until squash was soft.
This was served over rice and was a nice curry!
I don’t know if we’ll reuse this technique regularly, but if we didn’t have a refrigerator, this would be a decent way to reuse leftovers and keep them from going bad.