Potato and Beef Soup
As the days shorten and chill down, I start to change my food focus like many of us. Less focus on fresh garden veggies and more focus on home style comfort foods. This Potato and Beef soup recipe kind of combines them both as it is a nice, warm, comfort food made with fresh garden veggies!
Before I dive into the recipe discussion itself, I have been thinking a lot about our role as consumers. I think we underestimate our power as consumers. We have a lot of power in the purchasing choices we make. We have the ability to use our purchasing power to promote the sustainability of our planet or to feed the food production machine. I believe that we do not have to be perfect to be better. I am not saying that you can only eat the vegetables from your own garden and only organic chicken that voluntarily marched to the slaughter house with a smile on its beak. What I am saying though, is, with every decision you make, do your best in the moment.
If you have the opportunity to support a local farmer by purchasing a vegetable box in the summer months, do it. If you can source some grass fed cow from a local rancher, do it. Maybe buy some eggs from your neighbour or community member. You can make a difference one decision at a time. You don’t have to go all in. It is important to support small local producers though. If every one of us just focus on making the most sustainable choice we can, at that time, it will make a difference.
I have just returned from my week long course at the Culinary Institute of America on the Farm to Table movement. One fact I took away was that your mouthful of food (if you are American but I would bet Canada isn’t any better) has travelled 1,500 miles! Just think of the non-renewable resources required to make that happen. For all of the haters of the oil and gas industry, how many support the large food production machine? We can do better by acknowledging that in many parts of the world, we should not have access to strawberries in January. The cost to provide us with those choices is not sustainable for our planet. So, just think before you buy. What did it cost the planet to give you that option? Is it something you want to encourage or discourage?
Ok, enough with the lecture…… let’s talk food. This soup can easily be made into a stew by adding a slurry at the end to thicken it up but I left it as a soup.
I start by sautéing up some beef stew meat in some fat. I used grass fed beef tallow but you can use any fat product. This step is the most important for creating flavour in your soup. I started by drying the stew meat. This removes excess liquid from the meat and allows for a better sear on the meat. I then generously salt and pepper the meat and melt the beef tallow in my sealed cast iron pot. Take your time with this step and make sure you don’t crowd your pot as you won’t get a nice sear on the meat if you have too much meat in the pot at a time. You can work in batches if necessary, removing the meat that is done and putting it aside.
Once all of the beef is seared off and pulled out of the pot, add some mirepoix (fancy cooking term for a mixture of 1/2 onion, 1/4 carrot and 1/4 celery diced). Once you have cooked that for a few minutes, add some fresh garlic. The quantity in the recipe is just a guideline. I personally believe that there is no such thing as too much garlic. Cook for a few minutes before you add some red wine.
There are two ways to go about this red wine step. First, use some leftover red wine that you have sitting on the counter because you opened the bottle and had just one glass. Just kidding, there is never any leftover red wine in this house!! Really, open a fresh bottle of red wine and use 2 cups for the soup (I KNOW!! It kills me too!). Good news is that you now have a cup of nice red wine left in the bottle and well what are you going to do with that? Cooking is always better with red wine!
Add the red wine to the pot and reduce for 15 minutes or until the wine has reduced by half. Then add your tomato sauce, beef broth, potatoes and a large stalk of fresh rosemary. Cook until the potatoes are cooked. Taste the broth and add seasoning as needed. You will likely need to add salt and pepper. Spoon into a bowl and enjoy!
Potato and Beef Soup
A delicious, rich soup that is so very flavourful and satisfying.
- 2 Tbsp Beef tallow or other cooking fat
- 2 Lbs Beef stew meat
- 2 Carrots Large, chopped
- 1 Yellow onion Medium, diced
- 3 Stalks of celery chopped
- 2-3 Cloves of garlic minced
- 2 C Red wine
- 1 Can Tomato sauce 398 ml or 14 ounces
- 2 C Beef broth
- 3 Potatoes Medium, cubed
- 1 Stalk of fresh rosemary