Sunday, January 2, 2011

Winter's Beef & Vegetable Soup

After shoveling all the snow which a blizzard recently dropped on us, we were pretty chilled to the bone. Instead of turning to cans of soup (which I refuse to do these days), I looked to one of our favorite sources for recipes: America's Test Kitchen.

We had recently seen an episode highlighting beef and vegetable soup on our public television station. We have a habit of watching America's Test Kitchen when we're really hungry, so everything on the show is always really delicious looking.

It's rare that I should buy quality cuts of beef anymore, but this recipe looked so scrumptious and winter-curing that I just had to try it.

I made it on a day off (New Year's Eve) and figured we could eat it over the weekend. It was a lot easier than I figured it would be; the ingredients list was a little intimidating. If you time everything right, you should have no problem with this. The most difficult part is watching the fond build up on the bottom of the pot, which I assure you is resolved once you add the broth. I'll add my little notes in after the recipe. They may help you time everything right, saving you time overall with this recipe.

America's Test Kitchen: Beef & Vegetable Soup

  • 1 lb sirloin tip steak, trimmed of most excess fat 
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil ((Note: I used extra virgin olive oil))
  • 1 lb cremini mushroom, stems trimmed, caps wiped clean and quartered ((Note: I used regular organic mushrooms))
  • 1 large onion, chopped medium (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 3/4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 2 medium celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10 ounces red potatoes, cut in 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups)
  • 1 cup frozen peas (optional) or 1 cup frozen corn (optional) or 1 cup frozen cut green beans (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin (powdered)
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
  • table salt
  • ground black pepper
Prep Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 1 1/4 hr
   1. Cut the flap meat in half across the grain, then cut each half into 1/2" pieces WITH the grain. Cut the resultant strips into 1/2" pieces across the grain. Season with soy sauce and toss. Let marinate 15 minutes.
   2. Heat 1 tsp oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. When it begins to smoke, add onion and mushrooms. Let caramelize for 8-12 minutes. When very deeply browned, transfer to a bowl.
   3. Add beef to the pot and sear well, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and tomato paste. Cook about 30 seconds until garlic is fragrant. Add red wine and scrape up the fond on the bottom of the pan. Cook until wine is very reduced and syrupy.
   4. Add beef broth and chicken broth. Add carrots, celery and bay leaf. Add onions and mushrooms to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook 25 minutes. If using potatoes, add after 10 minutes. If using peas, corn or green beans, add during last 5 minutes of cooking.
   5. Add gelatin to cold water and let stand 5 minutes. Off heat, stir softened gelatin into pot until it dissolves. Add parsley, adjust seasoning and serve.

My notes? With all the ingredients, I tried to go with the lowest sodium content I could. This includes the soy sauce, beef broth, and chicken broth. While the meat marinates in the soy sauce, I chopped and cooked my onions and mushrooms. While all that cooked, I chopped my celery and carrots.

I recommend using more than 10 ounces of red potatoes - I put 13 ounces into mine, but even a little more would have been awesome. Not too much though! By the time you're done with everything, there will be a lot of stuff in the soup to match the broth! If you don't have a kitchen scale, I think 10 ounces of red potatoes is around 5 or 6 smallish potatoes, a little larger than a gold ball each.

I wish I had a baguette around to eat this soup with. I imagine it would be the perfect companion for this soup!

Do you have any favorite warm-up, winter dishes? 


Tasha said...

That looks wonderful, although I would definitely go with the crimini mushrooms next time--they're much more flavorful, and healthier, too.

My mom makes this fantastic Italian sausage and black bean soup. I have yet to acquire the recipe, but when I do, I'll post it for you~

Sassafrass said...

Mmm, that sounds good. I'd love to try it.

Are crimini mushrooms some kind of specialty? I went to both my local big grocery store and then the more organic fresh foods store that usually has a lot of variety when it comes to produce. Some of the mushrooms weren't even really labeled as any specific kind. :(

Kate! said...

We eat spicy foods to warm up! I love anything with a kick to it!

Sassafrass said...

Kate, what do you use for a kick? My sister loves Frank's Hot Sauce, but we love Sriracha!