Beef Vegetable Soup

Recipes

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Beef Vegetable Soup

I was waiting until we had another cold front to post this recipe, but since this is Texas I realized I’d have to wait until Christmas. We enjoyed this soup so much that we gobbled it all up in one setting, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it would have been better the next day.

This beef vegetable soup makes good use of any root vegetables you have lying around. Red wine adds a nice depth of flavor to the savory broth. Caution: This beef broth will change your life. It is THAT good. My little ladybugs were feeling puny after a cold front blew in, but a little of this soup perked them right up. (And for those of you who’ve suffered through ailing toddlers, you know anything that can make them feel better is a game changer).

Beef Vegetable Soup

 

 

Serves 8

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 lbs beef tips (Tip: You can cube a beef roast if you’re in a pinch like I did.)

4 cups chopped root vegetables (I used daikon, carrots, potatoes, and parsnips)

1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (about 5 mushrooms)

6 cups beef broth

1 cup red wine (recommend merlot or cabernet sauvignon)

2 bay leaves

1 heaping tbsp. dried parsley (alternately use 2 cups fresh, chopped flat-leaf parsley added immediately before serving)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

(This recipe can alternately be prepared in a slow cooker. Place all ingredients in your slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 6 hours.)

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 2 minutes. Add beef tips and cook until browned, but not fully cooked (about 7 minutes). Add garlic and cook an additional minute. Add remaining ingredients, cover, and cook to a boil. Reduce heat to achieve a simmer and cook an additional 30-35 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

Serve hot with a white crusty bread.

 

 

 

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Cheese Board Bread

Recipes

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I love bread. I’m one of those that will eat the bread on the way home from the supermarket until there’s only a lonely, crusty end left. I find that bread that I get from a bakery, or better yet bake at home, is so much more satisfying than the kind you can find at the big box stores. It somehow satisfies with less and doesn’t have that strange aftertaste you become accustomed to, unless you eat fresh bread often enough.

We almost never buy bread anymore. I cook bread at least once a week, sometimes four times a week. My husband and I were including bread in our CSA boxes and that meant baking thirty loaves every week. It’s like gardening- therapeutic and satisfying to see and enjoy the finished project.

Baking bread is one of the most wholesome things you can do for your family. True, it is time consuming, but most of the time spent is inactive.

I have a secret weapon, and his name is Paul Hollywood. If you’ve ever seen The Great British Baking Show (and if you haven’t, you MUST!), you know Paul. My husband bought me one of his bread baking cookbooks, and it was revolutionary. Every loaf is a homerun. I have had to adjust every recipe – because apparently the hot, humid conditions of the South Texas coast are slightly different than Paul’s home in Scotland – but they are all delicious, no fail breads.

Here’s one of his recipes that I added dried fruit to. It combines all of my favorite parts of a good cheese board: 1) a hearty bread, 2) nuts, 3) fruit, and 4) cheese. This bread is so complex and wonderful, it’s great with a slathering of butter, jelly, or toasted with olive oil.

Cheese Board Bread

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Makes 1 loaf

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Inactive Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 35-40 minutes

Ingredients:

2/3 cup bread flour

2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour

1 tablespoon salt

2 tablespoons yeast

1/2 stick butter, softened

1 1/4 cup water

3 oz bleu cheese (Gorgonzola or Stilton)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/3 cup dried cranberries, blueberries, and/or cherries

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add in butter and water until a soft dough is formed. The dough should be slightly wet, as whole-wheat requires more water. Knead the dough in the bowl or on a floured surface for about five minutes, until smooth. Cover dough with a tea towel and let rise in a warm area for an hour.

Add the cheese, nuts, and dried fruit to the risen dough and knead well, until all the mix-ins are well-incorporated. Form a baton or batard shape (us lay folks may think of it as a sausage shape) and place on a baking sheet. Cut slits 1/4″ deep using a sharp knife, and sprinkle with a light dusting of bread flour. Let rise for one hour.

Preheat oven to 450F. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the loaf sounds hollow when thumped, the bread is a nice golden color, and the cheese is bubbling and golden. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and let cool for at least ten minutes.

*Note: If you’re not a fan of bleu cheese, this loaf might pleasantly surprise you. Heating the cheese at this temperature mellows out the flavor considerably, leaving only a salty finish.