A hearty, made-from-scratch beef soup recipe packed full of garden vegetables just in time to warm you up from the cool autumn air.
I kissed my kids on their way out the door, closing it tight behind them, their small bodies wrapped in extra layers making their way down the leaf-lined street. I clutched a cup of steaming coffee, my fingers wrapping around the ceramic surface and pausing there, allowing the transfer of heat to my skin. I turned the water on to wash the breakfast dishes piled in the sink, and waited for water that was slow to warm. I pulled on boots and a coat over my sweater as I prepared to leave, and yet it really didn’t hit me until I was walking down the sidewalk towards the car, white flakes catching in my hair, brushing my eyelashes with the softest of touches.
Those first flakes are but a whisper of winter, a warning. The bright colors in my backyard will fade to grey soon enough, and I’m never quite ready for it to happen.
I’m not yet used to eating with the sun already tucked behind the trees, the overhead lights glaring down on us. Despite the chilled air at last week’s farmers market, the desperate need to stock up on foods that I knew I wouldn’t see again until next year, I still have been playing hooky on reality. I’ve been burying my head in the sand lest it extend the season and stave off the next by infinitesimal moments. Perhaps if I’m not paying attention, the leaves will remain on the trees rather than cascading down and covering the ground in a blanket of gold?
Finally succumbing to reality, I’ve allowed a pumpkin to be roasted. Chili simmered while cornbread baked. Apples were peeled, placed in pastry and packed in the freezer for later. Cider was poured.
It is soup season, and so try as I might to deny the inevitable, I’ve been baking bread and simmering stocks on the stove. The first this year came after clearing out our freezer, trying to make room for a side of beef and allocating space for all those crisps and pies I try to hide away to get me through the winter.
Packed full with the last of the fresh green beans (the frost hit this week here), plenty of orange and yellow carrots, and a hearty helping of beef it’s place on the table along with a few pain d’epi was a welcome one. (Interested in that bread? We’re talking about how to bake it and giving away a cookbook tomorrow, and it’s easier than you think. I promise.)
1 pound beef stew meat cut into 1″ chunks (e.g. chuck roasts, bottom or top round roasts)
1 large onion, diced
2 cups sliced carrots
1 cup cut green beans (1.5″-long pieces)
1 cup diced celery
2 cloves garlic
1 cup dry white wine
4 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
6 cups beef stock
salt and pepper
In a large stockpot heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef stew and cook until browned on all sides. Remove the beef from the pot and set aside. Add in the onion, carrots, green beans, celery and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the white wine and stir to deglaze the pan.
Add in the thyme, bay leaves, the beef stock, and the browned beef. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 40-45 minutes or until vegetables and beef are tender. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley before serving.
Makes 8-10 servings.