Sunday, March 21, 2010

Reader Request: Hearty Beef & Vegetable Soup

Recently, I received a lovely email from a reader. I’m blushing profusely because she said such nice things. Here’s what Linda, of Hamilton, New Jersey, wrote:

Your recipes are amazing…delicious…some of the best I have ever made, and I now know why after reading about you. I am looking forward to having your cookbook too.

Your soup recipes are so good! My husband and I both love the Beef, Barley & Mushroom Soup. We love it so much that it is always stocked in our freezer, and I can't remember not having a few containers always on hand. As a matter of fact, I went to the store today for the ingredients to make another pot.

Would you consider making a hearty steak-vegetable soup and sharing the recipe on your site? I have no talent for creations of my own and since finding your site have found none other that compares. I haven't made anything yet that we did not enjoy.

Thank you for considering a recipe request.

Linda, thank you so much for your kind words about my recipes and about Hungry Cravings! Comments like yours really make my day and encourage me to keep at it! And seriously, with that kind of flattering feedback, how could I not honor your recipe request?

A hearty, comforting meat and veggie soup usually includes peas, carrots, celery, onions, and potatoes.

But the start of spring and the first farmers market of the season inspired me…I chose to use leeks instead of onions.

I also added some cauliflower, since it’s one of my favorites.

This one’s for you, Linda. Enjoy!

Hearty Beef & Vegetable Soup
Printable Recipe

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 ½ pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup red wine
3 quarts beef broth
1 14 ½-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig Italian parsley
4 medium red potatoes
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
2 leeks, pale parts only, sliced
12 ounces cauliflower florets
1 cup shelled English peas
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat a large, heavy pot over high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pot. Add half of the beef and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, tossing about 3 times, until crusty and brown in spots.* Using a slotted spoon, remove the beef to a plate. Sear the remaining beef in the same manner and set aside. Reduce the heat to low, add the butter and garlic, and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Stir in the flour. Add the wine and simmer, stirring, for a minute or so. Stir in the broth, return the beef to the pot, and add the tomatoes (along with their liquid), bay leaves, thyme, and parsley. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the beef is nearly tender. Meanwhile, cut the potatoes into ¾-inch cubes. Add the potatoes, celery, carrots, leeks, and cauliflower to the pot, return to a boil, and simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Add the peas and simmer 4 to 5 minutes more, or until they are tender. Remove from the heat, discard the bay leaf, thyme sprig, and parsley sprig, and skim off any fat from the surface of the soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately.

Serves 6 to 8 as a main course. Leeks tend to be very dirty, so rinse them thoroughly after you slice them. Vary the vegetables as you like—try turnips, parsnips, pearl onions, cabbage, or whatever else may be in season. Use thawed frozen peas if fresh peas are unavailable.

*Searing the beef in this manner adds tons of flavor to the finished dish. For everything you ever wanted to know about searing, plus dozens of fabulous searing recipes, look for my book Seared to Perfection in stores in the fall of 2010.


veron said...

This certainly looks hearty! Would love to try this soon.

Irina said...

Sounds very good, comforting, and warming, especially a day after we had 8” of snow in Texas. And since I will be making a lot, how would you recommend freezing the leftovers? Would you freeze the ready soup or would you freeze the base before putting veggies in?

Lucy Vaserfirer said...

Either way would work, but I would just freeze the finished soup.

Catherine said...

Hi I came across your site whilst looking for a butternut squash gnocchi recipe, I'm so glad I did - your blog is fabulous and has been added to my google reader! That hearty soup looks sublime...

Kathy said...

I checked your recipe for hearty beef and vegetable soup and found it delighting! This will be on my list of something to prepare for our next family gathering. Thank's much!

Linda T. from N.J. said...

Made this soup Sunday night and it was everything I thought it would be ... delicious, comforting, filling and satisfying! Made some fresh no-knead artisan bread to go with it and was very happy with how good a meal it was. My husband and I just love your soups and make them often. This one will be a regular in our house now too. The only thing I did that was diffrent was used London Broil meat. Thank you so much for making and sharing this soup recipe. I look forward to visiting your site and making the recipes that you post. They never fail to please!

avaserfi said...

Your post inspired me! I used your recipe as a base, but turned it into a stew. I used 1qt less beef broth and 2.5 times the flour (adjusting the amount of butter as necessary).

Also, I used veggies we have in season here: turnips, potatoes, cabbage, carrots and celery. It was delicious and hearty!

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