I had no intention of posting this. It is just plain ol' soup. But David loved it. In fact he raved. Well....what passes for raving. A bit of back-story here - David rarely gets very excited about anything I cook. If I ask what he thinks he usually replies with a cool and non-commital "uh, good". So when he gets even a tiny bit enthusiastic I pay attention. When he made three comments about how he really liked this soup, I noticed. When he said "You should blog this one!" I more or less puffed up my chest and polished my nails.
I have been reading lately about the merits of cooking meat bone-in. Tastes better - richer and fuller - and the nutritional value of the end product is enhanced. Bones are after all storehouses of nutrients, not just racks for muscles and skin. For the last few weeks I have had a hankering for a hearty, healthy vegetable beef soup, so when I stopped at the farmer's market for a few things I added a package of beef braising short-ribs (from grass-fed* Alberta beef) to my bag. This soup is just what I wanted to eat - pretty, rich, full of flavour and meltingly tender morsels of beef. Loaded with goodness.
vegetable beef soup
500 gm of braising short-ribs
2 onions, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
4 cups water
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
2 medium parsnips, peeled and sliced
6 baby potatoes, quartered
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (19 oz) can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp thyme leaves
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp)
5 cups fresh baby spinach, washed
parmesan for sprinkling
In a large pot (I use a large enamelled cast iron pot) heat a tablespoon of light olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the short-ribs. Add the onion, cook stirring for a couple of minutes then turn the heat to low, add the garlic, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Leaving the heat low, add water making sure to cover the ribs. Replace the lid and continue cooking on a very low heat for an hour.
With a slotted spoon remove the short-ribs from the broth and let cool slightly. Pull the meat from the bones (the meat will basically fall off) and cut into small bite-size pieces. Return the meat to the pot. Add celery, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, tomatoes, and seasonings. Bring back to a nice simmer, replace the lid and cook for at least 20 minutes - or until the vegetables are tender. (Longer cooking won't hurt the flavour so if you want or need to leave it longer, don't worry.) Add the beans and cook another 10 minutes or so. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your preference.
Just before serving add the spinach and stir until wilted. Serve with a tablespoon of parmesan sprinkled on each serving.
I once read that only the pure in heart can make good soup. I almost always think of that at some point in the soup-making process. Do whatever you want with that - but I aim to make good soup :)
*grass-fed (or pasture-fed) animal products -meat, dairy, eggs- are sources of vitally important and naturally occurring vit K2 as well as omega-3's. When you eat these products it is worth the time and money to source grass-fed. Just be respectful and don't over-indulge.