Beef and Vegetable Soup
I’ve never been one for grand resolutions (I see you whole30 enthusiasts and I raise my glass of wine to you) but I do love a challenge. And after weeks of excess— extra glasses of wine, treats taunting me from every corner of the house and enough butter-based goodies to open my own shop — it’s time to rein in the extravagance and settle into a healthier routine.
I try not to think of it as a diet, but after a season of “more” I can appreciate focusing on the simple nourishment of what I put on the table for myself and my family. My personal challenge is to get back to basics: fresh, whole food. I’m weaning off the sugar and remembering that food is fuel. I feel my best, as does my family, when we stick to fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and whole grains.
But can I just be real for a second…it’s so much harder to actually do these things than it is to type it up and think about it. I can think about good habits all day long but to actually follow through and do them is a whole other thing.
I’ve been listening to a couple podcasts lately that talk about the Enneagram and other personality profiles. I've had my mind blown listening to the different ways people respond to structures, responsibilities and routines. I’m realizing so much about myself and instead of feeling badly that I’m one or the other (which is how I would usually respond to things like this), I’m trying to just embrace who I am and come up with strategies that work for me.
Anyway, I meant to get this soup posted last week, but you know how that goes sometimes.This soup recipe has been in my family for years. We used to joke that it’s a “detox soup,” and while it doesn’t have the benefits of a “detox,” it will make you feel good from the inside out. Full of vegetables and lean beef, its filling and hearty while being very healthy and the perfect way to jump into a new year.
Vegetable & Beef Soup
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 russet potatoes, chopped
1 head green cabbage, chopped
1 28-oz. can organic fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 lb. beef stew meat or round steak, sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 32-ounce box low-sodium beef or chicken stock
1 bay leaf
½ cup red wine (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees. Chop the vegetables so they are as uniform in size as possible. The cabbage can be shredded or sliced lengthwise and then chopped into thirds.
In a large oven-safe pot, brown stew meat in ½ tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the meat is seared on all sides. Remove from pot and set aside. Add another ½ tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter to the pot. Sauté onion, carrot and celery for 5 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften and onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute until fragrant. Salt and pepper vegetable mixture.
Add potatoes, tomatoes and green cabbage. Cook all vegetables for an additional 5 minutes. Mix in stew meat and pour beef stock over the vegetables. Stir in bay leaf and red wine. Salt and pepper again.
Cover the pot with a lid and put the pot into the oven. Cook for 4 hours, stirring occasionally. When the vegetables and meat are cooked through, take a potato masher and break up the vegetables and meat. (The meat will naturally shred as it cooks, but I prefer the texture of the vegetables all broken up.)
To serve, ladle soup into bowls and garnish with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Our family likes this soup with a peppery bite, so we add plenty of fresh cracked pepper throughout the cooking process, up to a full tablespoon sometimes. Also, this soup cooks down quite a bit, especially in the oven, so don’t be surprised if you need to add an additional cup or two of stock to thin the soup. Simply add the stock to the pot, taste and add a little salt and pepper if necessary.