Sunday, April 28, 2013

Hearty Vegetable Beef Soup

This is one of my comfort foods. Dicing the veggies, searing the meat, and tasting the almost finished product are all highly therapeutic.  Once it's done,  I love to ladle up a large bowl, heat up some good bread, and eat it as fast as humanly possible. Feeling full after eating this is one of the most enjoyable things for me.

With a thousand possible variations on how to make this, you can use this as a base recipe and come up with your own classic combination. I've been eating this since I was 3, and making it since I was 14, and the following recipe is my favorite after years of tweaking, testing, and tasting.

The ingredient list may seem intimidating, but honestly, it's just a bunch of veggies in a pot, simmered in savory beef broth with a few seasonings. It's super easy!

Ingredients (used in this order):

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 - 1 1/2 lbs stewing beef
1 large onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

5-7 stalks celery, diced
4-5 large carros, diced
4-5 potatoes (sweet or regular), diced - optional

1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Herbs de Provence (what I use)

2 cups corn (thawed if using frozen)
8 cups beef broth

1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes
3 stalks kale or swiss chard
1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce


In large pot, heat olive oil on high - don't let it smoke! Add beef, onion, salt and pepper. Sear meat until brown, and onions are starting to become translucent around the edges.

Add vegetables and spices. Cook, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes.

Add corn and broth. Bring to a boil, and reduce from high (yes, everything to this point is still done on high, or medium high - don't burn it) to low and simmer, covered, for about 11/2 - 2 hours hours, stirring occasionally.

Add tomatoes and chard/kale, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir well, taste, and adjust if necessary.

Viloa - you're done. Serve and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Notes: Because this calls for more ingredients than I typically feature in my recipes, here are a few tips about how to streamline making this.

Get all your ingredients and tools out at once.
Take a basket around your kitchen, fridge, pantry, etc if you must.

Make a 'graveyard'. Designate a bowl, old plastic bag (featured), or similar as the place where all trash goes while cooking. This saves you needless steps to the trash can or constant turning and missed shots while attempting to lob your trash halfway across your kitchen. Dirty/used dishes or tools can go here too - this saves unnecessary trips to the sink.
Chop your veggies first, set aside, then chop your meat and be done
with the chopping block. This will reduce clean up amount and time.

Eyeball how much spice to use, as it's not an exact science. Measure if you're not confident in your ability to gauge.

Short Hand: Sear 1-2lbs stewing beef with eevo, s/p. Add 'hard' veggies and spices, saute 10 mins. Add broth and corn. Simmer 1-2 hours. Add 'soft' veggies. Cook 10 mins. Serve hot, fall in love.

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