Sometimes I eat a lot of vegetables. There's this funny comparison thing that happens when most of your friends are farmers, where you think, "Jeez, Emily, you're eating or preserving only a grocery bag full of vegetables every week! That's basically nothing!" This has been the season that I come to terms with imperfection - allowing the broccoli to yellow in the fridge while I attend to applesauce, roasted plums, and a million little jams. Some years, I think, I will eat more vegetables. Some years, I will make more jam. Maybe one summer in the future I will spend no time at all cooking, and will eat out at every meal. That'll all be okay. (I promise, to both of us. It'll be okay.) Eating is about survival, and about celebration. Health is about more than just weight and rules.
SMILE AND EAT YOUR DAMN FOOD!
This fall, I'm prioritizing fat, meat, and hot water with lemon. I'm focusing on snuggles, productive meetings, and a sunny outlook on life. I like this soup because it facilitates all of those things, and you can pull it all together while watching a silly TV show after a long day of kicking ass.
Beef stock started the morning before in a slow cooker adds gelatin, flavor, and onions/celery/carrots (vegetables!). It's so full of good saturated fats that after a night in the fridge, the soup will be solid! That's a great sign. It also makes a humungous amount of soup, so after you and your sweetie eat it for dinner, lunch, breakfast, and dinner again, you can invite hordes of friends to eat some and know that you're giving them a tonic to ward off winter colds and chills. Maxwell has been cooking this soup down in the morning, cracking eggs in it, and turning it into a Spanish torta for my breakfast - so good!
If it fits your lifestyle right now, think about purchasing a ¼ of a cow (grassfed, if you want) from a local farmer (we got ours from Colvin Ranch in Tenino, WA), or go in with some friends to buy it. Ask to keep as many bones as possible, to make easy, nutritious stock/broth. Get a chest freezer to keep it all in, and be reassured that you'll always be prepared to make soup. Our ¼ cow cost about $600 and takes up half of the 7.1 cu. ft. chest freezer we purchased for $200. It's an investment, to be sure, but it will supply two people with beef for 6-12 months (depending on how much fish Maxwell catches) and that beef will always be nearby for late-night steak cravings.
If you're near the Salish Sea, the South of the Sound Community Farm Land Trust has a great Direct Sales Farm Map, to connect you with all sorts of folks selling meat and vegetables direct to YOU!
This recipe is originally from Food & Wine.
Don't stress about the details. This is not a recipe that requires you make a mad, last-minute dash to the store for marjoram. It'll taste good even if you only add paprika.
- large beef bone(s) - no bigger than your pot or slow cooker can hold
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 3-5 large carrots, roughly chopped
- 2-3 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
- a dash of unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
- filtered water (I like the PUR water filters)
- about 1-1½ pound ground beef
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 pound or more boiling potatoes (about 3-5), peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1 ¼ teaspoons caraway seeds
- 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- good bread, for serving
- salted butter, for spreading
- good salt and freshly ground black pepper, for eating
- The morning before, roast the beef bone(s) on a baking sheet at 400F until aromatic and bubbling.
- Add one onion, carrots, celery, apple cider vinegar, and roasted beef bone to CrockPot or other slow cooker. Fill with filtered water and cook on low. (No slow cooker? Bring to a boil in pot on stove, then reduce to low and barely simmer - you can turn it off at night and back on in the morning)
- Set a large pot over moderate heat. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring to break it up, until the meat is no longer pink.
- Reduce the heat to moderately low. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes. Stir in the flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
- Add the potatoes, paprika, cayenne, marjoram, caraway seeds, salt, and tomato paste.
- Ladle broth (and included fat, vegetables, and marrow) from slow cooker into pot, removing the bones. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
- Salt well before eating, optional black pepper. Serve with thick, toasted, well-buttered slices of a good sourdough or multigrain loaf of bread.