20 January 2010
COOKING COMFORT FOOD
I am in the mood for vegetable soup and have a lovely pound of meat in the freezer. However, the family expresses extreme interest in having quiche and salad for dinner tonight. We do the bacon-green onion version which is my favorite, and MK made a wonderful salad--Romaine, shaved carrots, diced apples, and chopped pecans with Ken's raspberry-pecan salad dressing. YUM!
And in the midst of making two quiches and taking a phone call from a long-lost friend, I whip a batch of beef vegetable soup from memory and with innovation. It's maybe the best I've ever made, or at least it's been a very long time since I made it this good.
The innovation was adding fire-roasted tomatoes, and because I don't have any beef stock on-hand I use some organic chicken stock and it certainly works well. I think the chefs would call this layering flavors...
VEGETABLE BEEF SOUP
1 lb. Beef sirloin, lean (1" chunks)
2 T. Olive oil
2 tsp. Salt
1/2 Cup Sweet onion, diced
1/2 Cup Celery with tops, chopped
1 Cup Tomato juice
1 Can Fire roasted tomatoes
1-1/2 Cups Beef or chicken stock
1 lrg Potato, peeled and diced
1 bag steamable mixed vegetables (I used WalMart's Great Value brand and the carrots are lovely.)
Salt and pepper
1. Heat olive oil to a searing temp.
2. Add stew beef and sear on all sides.
3. Salt generously.
4. Add onions and celery, stirring to mix with beef juices. Cook until onions approach translucence.
5. Add tomato juice, fire roasted tomatoes, and stock.
6. Bring just to a boil and add potatoes. Turn flame down to high simmer and cook until potatoes are just starting to be tender.
7. Add frozen mixed vegetables and continue to simmer until potatoes and carrots are tender chrisp.
8. Taste and adjust seasonings by adding additional salt and pepper, as desired.
We are back to ordering a few items from Market Day--beef stew meat, pork tenderloin, and tilapia or yellow-fin tuna. The quality is outstanding and it's a short distance to the pick-up point at a local grammar school. In fact we have a choice of 3 or 4 pick-up locations within a 5 - 10 minute drive, so we choose the site that has the most convenient pick-up day.
I don't think Market Day is available outside of the Chicago suburban area, and I'm really amazed this hasn't been franchised throughout the country. It is a great source of fund raising for local schools and as I said the food quality is always amazing.