I may have mentioned that, while my mother was a good cook, she was not the least bit adventurous.
For Sunday Dinner we either had chicken or beef roast, with the occasional pork roast thrown in, just to be different.
Each was fixed in it’s own unique, delicious, but never changing way.
She had a few cook books and a box of recipes that she had collected but these were mainly for desserts and baked goods. One needed recipes for baking. One did not need recipes for cooking.
When she stated that she was making soup no one asked what kind.
We all knew.
She occasionally made bean soup, split pea soup and chili (hers was soup, sorry Texans). She even made potato soup once. But these were all given their full names.
If she just said ‘soup’ we knew it would be the winter staple: Beef Vegetable,
There’s a funny twist to it though I didn’t realize it at the time. She always made it with short ribs and she served the short ribs as a separate meat course.
I just put it all in the pot.
I know some people are leery of rutabagas, but it really is a key ingredient to this. It adds a sweet undertone that’s essential to this winter soup.
Beef Vegetable Soup
Total time: 60 minutes plus 4 – 6 hours if making stock
- The stock:
- 2 – 3 pounds beef short ribs or soup bones and meat
- 1 onion, quartered
- 1 carrot, cut into large chunks
- 2 ribs celery – or the tops from a bunch of celery, cut into large chunks
- 1 bouquet Garni
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tbs olive oil
- The soup:
- 16oz (480gr) lean beef – for stew or stir-frying or 2 cups of shredded beef, trimmed, from the stock beef
- 4 carrots
- 2 onions
- 4 ribs celery
- 1 medium rutabaga
- 2 potatoes
- 1/2 of a medium head of cabbage, about 3 cups
- 1/2 cup small pasta or egg noodles
- 8 – 10 cups beef stock
- The stock:
- Heat oil in large pot. Brown the beef very well on all sides over medium high heat, about 20 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients and enough water to just cover the meat, or 10 cups, whichever is more.
- Cover and simmer over low heat for several hours.
- Remove meat and chill until needed.
- Strain soup and chill 3 – 4 hours – this allows the fat to congeal on the surface for easy removal.
- Once fat is removed, stock can be boiled to reduce and increase strength.
- The soup:
- Bring the stock to a boil over medium high heat.
- Chop the onion and celery. Add to the soup.
- Peel the rutabaga (use a vegetable peeler) and cut into small bite-size pieces. Add to soup.
- Peel the carrots, cut in half lengthwise, then slice into 1/8″ (.3cm) half circles. Add to soup.
- Cut the potatoes roughly the same size as the other vegetables, add to the soup. (I scrub, but don’t peel).
- To cut cabbage, cut off a large slice next to the core. You’ll want about 3 cups, so you may need another slice off the other side. Chop cabbage and add to pot.
- When all of the vegetables are in bring it back to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes.
- Add pasta and simmer 15 minutes longer.
- If not using beef from the bones: cut the beef into bite-size pieces and sauté in a nonstick pan until browned.
- If using beef from the bones: remove the beef from the bones and cut.
- Add the beef to the soup. The soup is done when all vegetables are tender. Serve.
Note: Long simmering time is what breaks down the collagen in the meat, giving body to the stock.
Mon mari is disgruntled.
I’ve been messing with his weekend TV time.
We can only watch one channel at a time.
We have two TV’s but they are tied to the same box. We can watch one channel while recording another, but whatever is being watched on one TV is all that’s available on the other.
I’m giving this detailed explanation because I’m guessing most Americans will not easily comprehend such limitations.
I rarely watch TV other than the 90 minutes in the evening set aside to watch whatever prerecorded shows we have…. And then I’m on my laptop doing whatever.
This weekend is different.
I’ve finished my big site redesign, got all the tweaking done, and so forth.
My next big project is so big that I’m not pressuring myself to finish it quickly. I fully expect it to take a year so I’m setting a reasonable work schedule. (Something I also rarely do.)
Which means I find myself with free time in the afternoon to tackle other, smaller projects… Like the box full of recipes torn out of various magazines that need to be sorted.
Clipping and sorting recipes is exactly the sort of job to do in front of a roaring fire on a rainy day with something interesting on TV.
Unfortunately my idea of interesting doesn’t always match mon mari’s.
There’s a series on at the moment called ‘Secret World’ narrated by an archaeologist. So far I’ve seen one on the Anasazi and one on Angkor Wat. Both were excellent.
Both were on at the same time as a documentary on fighter planes.
I got to watch ‘Secret World’.
Since the TV is normally under the sole direction and discretion of mon mari, you can see that it was a bit of an infringement.
Neither the project or the series will last that long (he hopes).
This recipe is entered into Foods From the Heart:
Delicieux, this month’s host, will have the round-up of all the heart-warming entries right after March 1. Check it out!