This soup was mostly about getting rid of leftovers in the refrigerator. I had homemade vegetable stock and braised beef shank sauce in the fridge. Also a few vegetables that needed to be used up. I decided to break out the neck bones I had purchased the other day for $1.69 a pound. I think it was about 6 pounds total. Those 6 pounds of neck bones yielded about 4-5 cups of meat. I had never cooked with neck bones before but I would again. There is more cartilage and connective tissues with this cut than I’ve seen in others. But most of it melts away and can be separated from the meat if you so desire. I can see how many would find this off putting, but the combination of meat, bone and connective tissue makes a very rich, flavorful broth. We really enjoyed this soup, and it just kept getting better as the days went by. I didn’t use a recipe for this soup, just whinged it.
Start by searing the meat on the neck bones in batches. They are irregularly shaped so you need to move them a few times to sear each side. Deglaze the stock pot with about a cup of red wine and put the neck bones back into the pot. If you have extra stock or sauce to add to the pot later, then just cover bones with water. If you don’t have liquids to add later, then you’ll need to use more water initially to make up the difference. Add 4-6 cloves of chopped garlic, a bouquet garni of 2-3 bay leaves, 10 pepper corns and a few sprigs of thyme. Simmer until meat begins falling off the bone, 2-3 hours. While the meat is cooking, cut your vegetables into bite size pieces. Use what vegetables you have. I used a mirepoix, 2 parts onion, 1 part carrot and 1 part celery. Approximately 4 cups onion, 2 cups carrot and 2 cups celery. I also cut up approximately 4 cups of fingerling potatoes. Once the meat is done, drain the whole works though a colander, saving the liquid. Pull the meat bones out and lay on a cookie sheet to cool. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth, back into your stock pot. The broth may have little bits of grit from the neck bones, so don’t bother straining the last cup or so of the liquid. Once the meat has cooled enough to pull with your hands, separate meat from the bone. Add the meat and vegetables to the broth. If you have leftover stock or meat sauce, now is the time to add. Bring the works to a gentle simmer, adjust acidity by adding wine to taste. Simmer until the vegetables are done to your liking. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.