It occurred to me a couple months ago that of all the things I should be sharing on my blog I should be sharing the kinds of soups I make for Family Farm Soup Night. Here I've been doing Soup Night since October 2010, and over the course of the past three plus years, I've made A LOT of soup.
At least two soups every month, nine months out of the year. That's...oh dear, I have to take out a pencil here...62 soups.
Now, I haven't actually made 62 different soups because lots of soups make repeat appearances. I think it's fair to say, however, that I've made at least three dozen different kinds of soups. I don't even remember all the soups I've made. On account of not writing down that sort of information anywhere.
Well, maybe I can make a late New Year's Resolution to start keeping track. Starting now.
Tonight's Soup Night was special because my Great-Aunt Thelma came to celebrate her 88th birthday. It was also special because it's Aunt Jane and Chuck's first Soup Night as a married couple (they missed the December one since they still had family in town from the wedding).
All in all, twenty-two people came. And, per usual, it's not fancy and I only serve two soups and bread. Cousin Donnelle made birthday cake, and Jules had made some mini-cupcakes. And the Keurig was working like a champ, pouring cups of coffee for everyone.
On the menu today: Irish Beef Stew and Toasted Orzo Chicken Soup (thanks Aunt Jan for sharing that recipe with me!).
The recipe for Irish Beef Stew is from The Fresh 20, a weekly meal planning service that I subscribe to. The stew was on the menu during Christmas week, I made it then, thought it was yummy, and made it again tonight.
There are lots of recipes for Irish Beef Stew, but I can heartily recommend this one (as can everyone who had it at soup night).
Don't let the long list of ingredients intimidate you...the most time consuming thing is chopping up all the veggies, and I do not recommend trying to do that part while the meat cooks. I did that once, and the chopping took much longer than the meat cooking. The original recipe calls for the veggies to be diced into various sizes. I have no patience for dicing. Chop it up and call it good.
- 2 pounds of stew meat
- 1 t kosher salt
- 1/2 t black pepper
- 2 T flour
- 2 T grapeseed oil (1 T/batch of meat you cook, and you have to cook the meat in two batches)
- 1 medium yellow onion, cut small
- 6 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 4 ribs of celery, cut into 1 inch slices
- 2 parsnips (don't ignore the parsnips! they are important!), peeled and chopped
- 2 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1/4 cup tomato paste (or just the whole little can is good too because what are you going to do with the rest of the can?)
- 1 T Dijon mustard
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 (12 ounce) Guinness Beer or 1 1/2 cups red wine (or broth)
- 2 cups low sodium chicken broth (most recipes I've seen call for beef broth, which I'm sure is great too)
- 1 cup water
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- Dredge meat in salt, pepper and flour
- Heat oil in Dutch oven or heavy bottom soup pot over medium heat; once hot, add 1 tablespoon oil. Brown the meat in two batches, each batch should take about 3 minutes. Don't let the flour burn.
- Deglaze the pot with some Guinness (or wine or broth)
- Add the meat back to the pot with the veggies, tomato paste, Dijon and garlic. Stir and cook 3-4 minutes.
- Add in beer, broth, water, and thyme sprigs
- Bring to a boil, cover with a lid, and reduce the heat slightly. Keep the liquid to a low boil and cook for at least 25 minutes, but I recommend at least an hour. Discard any thyme stems floating at the top before serving.
If you like stew, then this recipe is a keeper!