Inspiration: So now that the holidays are over (happy new year, everyone!) and our schedule is calming back down again, I’ve really been in the mood to get back into the kitchen and cook some heartwarming, comforting meals. After rushing around so much for what seems like a month or two, there’s nothing better than having the time to enjoy some great dinners with each other at the end of the day.
What We Loved: The base of this soup – the beef stock – is really what makes the soup. After cooking all day on the stovetop, the flavor profile of the stock is rich and hearty, with layer upon layer of comforting beef and vegetable goodness. Brandon and I both agreed that we had never tasted a better beef soup than this one, and it’s entirely due to the fact that the beef stock was so outstanding. And on top of how much we enjoyed the stock, the beef itself was just as good. When the stock is done cooking, the beef just falls right off of the soup bones and shreds apart, giving you tender, succulent meat to add back to your soup. I chose sweet potatoes, carrots, pearl onions, and green beans for the vegetables that I added in to the soup, and we both really loved what each of those vegetables added to the dish. The sweet potatoes added a lovely sweet bite, the beans and carrots added that familiar and characteristic vegetable flavor, and the pearl onions added nice pops of rich onion flavor. This is the kind of soup that is the definition of comfort in a bowl, and it’s perfect for the cold, snowy evenings that I know are headed our way.
Tips: As I use vegetables in my cooking on a day-to-day basis, I save all of the odds and ends that I wouldn’t otherwise use (onion tops, carrot ends, herb stalks, etc.) in a freezer bag in the freezer. I wait until I have a good amount (several cups worth) before making stock, so that I can add those vegetable bits to my stock rather than using fresh, new vegetables. I would really suggest doing the same – it’s a great way to avoid waste and to get use out of all of your vegetables. Secondly, this is an all-day project since it involves making your own beef stock, so make sure that you have enough time. I’d recommend making this recipe on a Sunday, because it really does provide for a wonderful and cozy Sunday evening supper. It’s just the kind of meal that Sundays were made for.
Hearty Beef and Vegetable Soup
Source: Original Recipe
About 3 lbs very meaty soup bones
Any desired dried herbs
A few cups worth of vegetable odds and ends that you’ve saved in the freezer (i.e., carrot and zucchini ends, onion tops, stalks from herbs, Parmesan rinds, etc.)
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cup frozen pearl onions
1 1/2 cups green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces
1. Season the soup bones well with salt and pepper. Roast them on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for about an hour.
2. Pour the soup bones and any accumulated juices into a large stock pot (mine is 8 quarts). Fill the pot with water, leaving enough space to add your vegetables.
3. Pour your vegetables on top, and add a good bunch of salt, pepper, and any dried herbs that you prefer (I used some dried marjoram that I had on hand).
4. Bring the pot to a boil, and then immediately reduce to a very light simmer. Let cook for about 5 hours on the stovetop.
5. Remove the soup bones/meat and vegetables from the stock, reserving the soup bones and meat. Pour the stock through a fine mesh sieve into another large pot.
6. Pull the meat from the bones with your hands (it should fall right apart). Shred the meat, removing any fat, and return all of the shredded meat to the pot with the stock.
7. Add the sweet potatoes, carrots, pearl onions, and green beans to the pot. Return the pot to the stove, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, until all of the vegetables are softened.
8. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary (I add a lot of salt at this point).
9. Serve the soup topped with finely shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired (it’s good with or without).