Sunday, July 8, 2012

Rabbit Soup! by Keith

Saturday morning after Rebecca left for the All Locals Farmers Market, I decided I wanted to try my hand at using the pressure canner on some soup.  I really felt like cooking a good Italian soup but I didn’t have any Italian sausage.  I did, however, have some rabbit in the freezer so I figured I could just grind it and make my own Italian rabbit sausage. 

I got the meat out to thaw and googled Italian sausage recipes.  I found one that looked good, but among other spices it called for “dry Italian seasoning”, which I didn’t have.  So I opened another window in explorer and googled dry Italian seasoning recipe.  I found one that I had almost all the ingredients for except savory (I don’t even know what that is) and mixed up a batch.  I now have a mason jar of dry Italian seasoning.  Back on track!  I hooked up the grinder attachment to the Kitchen Aid mixer and ran the rabbit through it.  I know…  I know…  some of you may hate me for running a bunny through the grinder, but don’t worry.  He lived a good short life and was dispatched humanely.  I’m a farmer, butchering is part of what I do and rabbits reproduce like, well…  rabbits.  I added the spices from the aforementioned Italian sausage recipe and ran it through one more time.  Viola!  Italian sausage!... more or less.  I grabbed some chopped greens that I put in the freezer earlier this summer.  Chopped an onion which, by the way, is not the most masculine of tasks… I couldn’t stop crying!  Boiled some noodles, threw everything into the pot, seasoned it and then sat back.  I started out with intentions to share my experience with pressure canning homemade soup, so on to that. 

After eating our fill, which wasn’t much after the kids found out what kind of meat was in it, there were still about four quarts left.  I cleaned and heated the jars, bands and lids and put two quarts of water in the bottom of the pressure canner we inherited when Rebecca’s grandmother passed away.  That canner is old!  This was the first time we tested it out, so I was a little nervous.  After heating the jars and the water in the canner I filled the jars with hot soup, leaving a half inch of head space.  I cleaned around the rim, put the lids in place and tightened down the bands.  After putting the jars in the canner, I put the lid on, locked it down and turned the heat up to high.  Once steam was flowing out the pressure relief valve I turned the temp down to medium and gave the canner about seven minutes to get all the air out.  Then next step was to put the automatic sealing cap on the valve, turn the heat down and watch the gauge.  I adjusted the heat to level the pressure off at 10 pounds and started the timer for 90 minutes.  Next I milked the goat.  I checked the pressure from time to time and made small adjustments to the burner temperature to keep the pressure at 10 pounds.  After 90 minutes passes I took the canner of the heat and waited till the pressure was back down to zero.  Once the pressure was down I took the cap off the valve and removed the lid from the canner.  I put the jars on the shelf and let them sit overnight.  All four quarts sealed properly, the soup inside looks good and the canner didn’t explode.  I am going to call this a success.  What I need now are some good soup recipes, so send them in.


Could you do it?

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