Well, it's official. It's FREEEEEEZING outside. The cold and the snow decided to takes their sweet time this year...and then slap us in the face. Hard and fast. Just last week it was a sorta pleasant 48°. Now it is a very unpleasant 5° (-7° w/ wind chill). Sure, snow's pretty...but ice and slick roads with black ice...not so pretty. I actually like being enveloped in that big white hush. As long as I can stay home all cozy and warm and see it through my window. But the minute you have to send kids out to stand at the bus stop worrying the whole time whether or not they'll make it home with all of their fingers and toes, it ceases being pleasant. Oh, or the minute you have to get on the road with all of the morons who forgot in the last 8 or so months how to drive in the snow. Um, hello...we live in Northern Indiana. It snows every year. I wouldn't mind driving so much if there was NOBODY else on the roads. Never seem to get that lucky, though. But, imagine if you will a day where you're tucked inside the house and only know it's snot-freezing outdoors by the icicles you can see hanging from the barren trees through your window. Nobody has to leave...music is playing...blankets are strewn from every available chair, table and shelf to form a massive fort...and of course, the kitchen is beckoning! This is when I don't mind it so much. A big pot of soup...bubbling on the stove...that's the stuff baby. That's the stuff.
Wintry Vegetable Beef Soup
from the kitchen of girlichef
yield ~1 gallon
1/2 Tbs. butter
1/2 Tbs. oil
~2 lbs. beef chuck (or any tougher, stew-worthy cut)
1 qt. stock/broth/water
4 slices thick-cut, peppered bacon
2 lg. sweet potatoes, peel & dice
2 lg. parsnips, diced
2 lg. carrots, diced
2 lg. sticks celery, diced
1 large onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, peel & smash
1/4 of a red cabbage, sliced thin
1/4 of a green cabbage, sliced thin
few sprigs thyme
few sprigs parsley
2 bay leaves
2 qt. stock/broth/water
Begin by melting the butter with the oil in a large Dutch oven. Brown your beef well on all sides. Once all sides are browned, drain off any excess fat in pan (more than a tsp.) and add 1 qt. of stock to pot. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer. Cover pan and simmer gently for until meat is fork tender, ~2 1/2 hours. When beef is finished, transfer it to a large bowl with any juices and let cool until able to handle, then shred it. In the same pot you cooked the beef in, add the bacon and cook just done. Remove bacon, but leave fat in pan. Add veggies and cook until just beginning to soften. Add shredded beef and reserved bacon back to pot along with herbs. Add 2 qts. stock (or more to just cover) and simmer over medium-low heat until vegetables are tender, ~10 minutes or so. I let it sit, covered for at least an hour to allow the flavors to come together. Remove herb stems and bay leaves. Season with freshly cracked black pepper (and salt if needed, depends on the saltiness of the liquid you used, so taste first). To serve, drizzle with a glug of balsamic vinegar and grate some fresh Parmesan over the top. Sprinkle with fresh, chopped herbs and more black pepper, if desired.There. Nice and cozy. Indoors with a big, bowl of steaming soup. Can you see the ice on the window pain melting from the heat in the kitchen? I can.
*I am entering this recipe into the FOODISTA Cookbook entry "contest" (read about it at the top of my sidebar) and would love it if you could go rate it (click on stars) if you get a moment. And everybody is free to enter an original recipe for a chance to be in the upcoming cookbook...so what're you waiting for!?
This recipe was chosen to appear in the Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook which comes out today! Thanks so much to everybody who voted for me and made this possible!