Category Archives: beef broth

Hamburger Soup

zippysoup

It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Soup is one of my favorite meals and since so many soups are quick to make, they are a  staple in my house. Filling, warming and satisfying soups make for the perfect dinner when paired with crusty bread and make even better leftovers for lunch the next day. And just about anything can be turned into a satisfying soup. This recipe, adapted from The Noble Pig has quickly become a favorite in my house where I liberally substitute the vegetables and even the ground meat depending upon what I have on hand. And thanks to the tangy and flavorful V-8, another favorite pantry staple, the broth is rich and flavorful without hours of cooking.

So if you are looking for a fast and tasty weeknight dinner idea, look no further than this soup. I promise that you won’t be disappointed.

HAMBURGER SOUP

1/4 pound pancetta, diced

2 pounds ground beef

1-1/2 cups carrots, peeled and sliced into 1 inch thick coins

1-1/2 cups celery, sliced into 1 inch pieces

1 leek, white and green parts only, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 cup frozen corn

4 cups beef broth

1 – 14 ounce can diced tomatoes

15 ounces V-8 vegetable juice

1 teaspoon ground oregano

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 pound small dry pasta

2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • Place a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until browned, using a spoon to crumble the meat.
  • Drain off the fat.
  • Add the carrots, celery, leek, corn, broth, V8, garlic and oregano to the meat mixture.
  • Increase the temperature to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the temperature to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
  • Return the temperature to high, add the pasta to the pot and cook until the pasta is al dental,8-10 minutes depending upon the size of your pasta.
  • Stir in vinegar right before serving.

Serves 6-8

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Guinness Stout Beef & Barley Soup

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The reemergence of a wintery blast of weather inspired to me make soup this past weekend. When it comes to beef I usually make a beef stew with red wine but decided to kick things up a notch by substituting Guinness Stout in honor of St. Patrick’s Day and turning the meal into a brothier soup since that is what is preferred by my fussy eaters.  In addition to my usual soup vegetables, I added some barley for body and peas and red peppers for added color and flavor.  The addition of the beer resulted in a hearty and comforting dish with a depth of flavor that is absent when using wine.

This recipe will make a reappearance in the fall since I am hoping that the weather will soon be turning too warm for hot soups.  In the meantime, for those of you in cooler climates, try this.  I promise that you won’t be disappointed.

GUINNESS STOUT BEEF  & BARLEY SOUP

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 pound stew beef, cubed into bite sized pieces

1/4 cup dry sherry

2 large onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced

10 baby red potatoes, cubed

3 large carrots, peeled and sliced into coins

2 bottles Guinness Stout

3 cups beef broth

3/4 cup pearl barley

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

1 red pepper, diced

1/2 cup baby peas

  • Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat.  When the oil is shimmering, add the beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is seared and brown on all sides.
  • De-glaze the pan with the sherry.  Add the onions, garlic, carrots, and potatoes.  Stir to combine.
  • Add the stout, broth, barley, bay leaves, thyme and salt and pepper.  Stir to combine.
  • Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and cover.  Simmer, stirring occasionally,  for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until the beef is tender and the vegetables can easily be pierced with a fork.
  • Adjust seasonings.  Add the red pepper and peas and cook until heated through.

The soup can be made ahead of time then reheated when ready to serve.  I like to make it the day before I want to serve it so the flavors have time to meld. If possible, add the peas and red pepper right before serving since you don’t want them to over cook and turn mushy.

Bolognese Sauce

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Some dishes are simply classics. They are the go-to recipes that you return to over and over again. In my family bolognese sauce is one of those recipes. Rarely does a week go by without our eating a steaming plate of pasta topped with rich bolognese sauce for dinner. Its comforting, satisfying and when I make a pot of the sauce over the weekend, becomes the perfect fast weeknight dinner.

I’ve adapted this recipe from Williams Sonoma’s Essentials of ItalianIts taken me years to find my right balance of meat, vegetables and sauce but I think I’ve finally found my magic combination. The key to a good sauce is long and slow cooking. The process just can’t be rushed if you want to achieve the perfect balance of flavor and texture. I’m also a fan of including a piece of parmesan rind in my sauce. Most people discard this hard remnant of cheese but I stash my leftovers in the freezer then pop one into my sauce while it simmers. It adds a richness and complexity that you just can’t find any other way. If you don’t have a parmesan rind on hand that’s ok to. Skip it for now but save it the next time you use up your hard parmesan cheese. Try it once and you too will be a convert.

BOLOGNESE SAUCE

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 ounces pancetta, chopped

1 large carrot, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 leek, quartered and thinly sliced

1/2 pound ground pork

1/2 pound lean ground beef

1/2 cup dry red wine

1 cup drained and chopped plum tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 beef bouillon cubes

1 cup water

1 cup milk

1 parmesan rind

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

  • Melt the butter in a large heavy pot set over medium-low heat.
  • When the butter has melted add the pancetta, carrot, celery and leek. Stirring occasionally, cook for 15 to 20 minutes until the ingredients are golden brown and tender.
  • Add the ground pork and ground beef to the pot and stir well.
  • Raise the heat to medium and stirring often in order to break up the meat, cook until the meats are lightly browned and crumbled with most of the juices having evaporated. This should take about 20 minutes.
  • Add the wine to the pot and scrape up any browned bits that are stuck on the bottom of the pot.
  • Add in the tomatoes, tomato paste, bouillon cubes, water, milk, parmesan rind, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir well.
  • Allow the mixture to just begin to simmer then reduce the heat to very low and continue to cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally for about 1 hour. If the mixture becomes too thick you can add in a bit more water.
  • Partially cover the pot and continue cooking until the sauce is thick and dark brown, an additional 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  • Skim off any fat that floats to the surface of the sauce and serve over hot pasta. Alternatively, let cool, cover and store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Reheat over low heat, additionally additional water or wine as necessary to get the right texture.

Yields 4 cups

Cottage Pie w/ Beef & Carrots

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Comfort foods run supreme in my household this time of the year and one of the most satisfying meals when the weather is dark and damp is meat pies. Try as I might, however, I always struggle with making a nice pie crust. My solution is to skip the crust all together and to top the pie with mashed potatoes instead.

This recipe is courtesy of Fine Cooking magazine and is rich, hearty and thoroughly satisfying and is reminiscent of a shepherd’s pie. Because I started with a more tender piece of meat which was then slow cooked, the meat is fork tender while the addition of porcini mushrooms adds even more flavor and texture to the dish. I love the tanginess that the addition of Greek yogurt adds to the mashed potato topping. If you don’t have Greek yogurt you can substitute sour cream or even half-and-half.

So when the weather turns cold, turn on your oven and bake up this hearty dish for dinner. It will warm you inside and out.

COTTAGE PIE w/ BEEF & CARROTS

For the beef stew:

1-3/4 cups low-sodium beef broth

1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms

2 tablespoons olive oil

2-1/2 pounds thin-cut steaks, 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick, trimmed of any excess fat or gristle

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 small onions, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

2 tablespoons tomato paste

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3/4 cup dry white wine

For the topping:

2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-1/2- to 2-inch chunks

Kosher salt

5 tablespoons unsalted butter (at room temperature, cut into 3 pieces)

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

To make the stew:
  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.
  • Bring the broth to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms then remove from the pan from the heat, cover, and steep for at least 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy stew pot or shallow 5-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  • Pat the steaks dry, season lightly with kosher salt and pepper, and put only as many in the pan as will fit without crowding.
  • Sear the steaks, flipping once, until nicely browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  • Set aside on a platter, and repeat with the remaining steaks.
  • Lower the heat to medium and add the carrots, celery, onions, and thyme.
  • Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 7 minutes.
  • Stir in the tomato paste, and cook for a few minutes.
  • Add the flour, stirring to blend, and cook for another minute.
  • Add the wine, bring to a simmer, and reduce the heat to low.
  • With a slotted spoon, scoop the mushrooms from the broth and transfer to a cutting board. Coarsely chop the mushrooms and add them to the vegetables. Slowly add the broth, being careful to hold back the last few tablespoons, which may contain grit from the mushrooms.
  • Cut the steaks into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes and add to the pot, along with any juices.
  • Cover tightly and transfer to the oven. Cook, stirring once or twice, until the meat is tender, about 1 hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Set the stew in a warm place, and increase the oven temperature to 375°F.
To make the potato topping:
  • Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover by an inch with cold water. Add 1 teaspoon of kosher salt.
  • Bring to a simmer over medium heat, partially cover, and simmer until the potatoes are easily pierced with a skewer, about 20 minutes.
  • Drain, and return the potatoes to the saucepan. Put the pan over low heat and shake or stir the potatoes until a floury film forms on the bottom of the pot, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Using a ricer, food mill, or potato masher, mash the potatoes. Stir in the  butter with a broad wooden spoon.
  • Once the butter is thoroughly absorbed, add the yogurt and stir vigorously until it is thoroughly blended in.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Assemble and bake:
  • Lightly coat a shallow 3-quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Spoon the stew into the baking dish.
  • Spread the potatoes on top in an even layer and sprinkle with the paprika.
  • Bake at 375°F until the stew is bubbling around the sides, and the top is lightly browned, 35 to 45 minutes.

Serves 8

Bolognese Sauce

IMG_4181

Some dishes are simply classics. They are the go-to recipes that you return to over and over again. In my family bolognese sauce is one of those recipes. Rarely does a week go by without our eating a steaming plate of pasta topped with rich bolognese sauce for dinner. Its comforting, satisfying and when I make a pot of the sauce over the weekend, becomes the perfect fast weeknight dinner.

I’ve adapted this recipe from Williams Sonoma’s Essentials of ItalianIts taken me years to find my right balance of meat, vegetables and sauce but I think I’ve finally found my magic combination. The key to a good sauce is long and slow cooking. The process just can’t be rushed if you want to achieve the perfect balance of flavor and texture. I’m also a fan of including a piece of parmesan rind in my sauce. Most people discard this hard remnant of cheese but I stash my leftovers in the freezer then pop one into my sauce while it simmers. It adds a richness and complexity that you just can’t find any other way. If you don’t have a parmesan rind on hand that’s ok to. Skip it for now but save it the next time you use up your hard parmesan cheese. Try it once and you too will be a convert.

BOLOGNESE SAUCE

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 ounces pancetta, chopped

1 large carrot, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 leek, quartered and thinly sliced

1/2 pound ground pork

1/2 pound lean ground beef

1/2 cup dry red wine

1 cup drained and chopped plum tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 beef bouillon cubes

1 cup water

1 cup milk

1 parmesan rind

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

  • Melt the butter in a large heavy pot set over medium-low heat.
  • When the butter has melted add the pancetta, carrot, celery and leek. Stirring occasionally, cook for 15 to 20 minutes until the ingredients are golden brown and tender.
  • Add the ground pork and ground beef to the pot and stir well.
  • Raise the heat to medium and stirring often in order to break up the meat, cook until the meats are lightly browned and crumbled with most of the juices having evaporated. This should take about 20 minutes.
  • Add the wine to the pot and scrape up any browned bits that are stuck on the bottom of the pot.
  • Add in the tomatoes, tomato paste, bouillon cubes, water, milk, parmesan rind, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir well.
  • Allow the mixture to just begin to simmer then reduce the heat to very low and continue to cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally for about 1 hour. If the mixture becomes too thick you can add in a bit more water.
  • Partially cover the pot and continue cooking until the sauce is thick and dark brown, an additional 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  • Skim off any fat that floats to the surface of the sauce and serve over hot pasta. Alternatively, let cool, cover and store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Reheat over low heat, additionally additional water or wine as necessary to get the right texture.

Yields 4 cups

French Onion Soup

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Glenn loves French onion soup and orders it whenever it appears on a restaurant menu.  Unfortunately for him, we have yet to find it any where here in Albania so his  opportunities to enjoy it have been limited over the past couple of years.  Having recently (re)discovered my own oven-proof bowls, I decided to surprise him with a dinner of homemade French onion soup.

This recipe is from my go-to soup cookbook, Williams Sonoma’s Soup of the Day.  I’ve discovered that the key to a good soup is starting with a good quality base.  Because meat bones are readily available at all the local butchers and it is so difficult to find good quality and low sodium broths and stocks here I opted to make my own.  I particularly like Martha Stewart’s but if you are short on time or have good quality store bought ones available to you, skip this step.

FRENCH ONION SOUP

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 1/2 pounds yellow onions, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon sugar

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 cups dry white wine

8 cups beef broth or stock

1 bay leaf

6 slices thickly cut country-style bread

3 cups shredded Gruyere cheese

  • In a large, heavy skillet, melt the butter with the oil over medium-low heat.
  • Add the onions and sugar and season with salt and pepper.  Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are meltingly soft, golden, and lightly caramelized, about 25-30 minutes.
  • Add the wine, raise the heat to high,and cook until the liquid is reduced by about half, 8-10 minutes.
  • Add the broth and bay leaf, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, until the soup is dark and fully flavored, about 45 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 400.  Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet and toast, turning once, until golden, 3-5 minutes per side.  Set aside.
  • Remove and discard the bay leaf.  Ladle the soup into ovenproof bowls arranged on a large rimmed baking sheet.
  • Place a piece of toast on top of the soup in each bowl and sprinkle with the cheese.  Bake until the cheese is fully melted and the toasts are slightly browned around the edges, about 15 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Serves 6

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