Is it any wonder that “soul” and “soup” differ by only one, final letter? I’m sitting here on this grey … chilly … dreary … January … did I mention, grey? … day and just the thought of leftover soup in the refrigerator makes me feel better. It’s warm (or in my case, hot). It’s colorful. It’s hearty. It’s ready in 2-3 minutes.
No, it didn’t come from a can. This is what happens when you do a little food prep on the weekend. A few days ago, I braised about 5 pounds of beef roast for French Dip sandwiches. That is a lot of beef for two people! By the time we finished our sandwiches and had a second round of sandwiches the next day, we were ready for Act II and Act III: soup and quesadillas!
More to come soon on the quesadillas … I was experimenting and it turned out so good I will definitely share soon.
The beautiful thing about braising is it creates the perfect scenario for soup. There’s the leftover meat as well as the leftover broth and maybe even vegetables. Half the work is done! In this case, I removed enough of the sliced beef to equal 2-3 cups of diced/pulled meat in the soup and most of the broth. What was left of the sliced meat and broth went back in the refrigerator for the quesadillas.
A little chopping … a few more spices and herbs … some canned tomatoes or tomato juice … a good simmer … one day to rest … voilà! Lunch or dinner is served!
Me? I am just as happy as can be with a bowl of soup and some crackers. I am just like my mom … the broth is our favorite part of the soup. My dad, however, was one of those types that would crush up enough saltines in his soup to turn it into a … oh, I don’t know … chowder, maybe? Let’s just say there was no danger of him dripping any soup on his shirt.
If that sounds like you, or if you just really want to up your presentation game, these beer bread bowls might do the trick!
These four “bowls” were made with one batch of the recipe divided into four mini-pie pans (the disposable aluminum kind). A half teaspoon of black pepper and a quarter cup of Parmesan cheese was added to the dough for a little extra flavor. Each pan was sprayed with cooking spray and the loaves were baked for 25-30 minutes until golden brown (a little olive oil or butter drizzled on top of the dough will brown them even more) and set in the middle. Once they were cool enough to handle, a cone shape was cut out of each and the bread inside was scraped out to make a nice bowl. Save the inside bread pieces for bread crumbs or croutons, or to eat along side the soup.
Instant beef pot pie!
French Dip Soup
1-2 cups thinly diced carrots
1-2 cups thinly diced celery
1-2 cups thinly diced onion
1-2 cups thinly diced potatoes
leftover braising liquid from French Dip
1 15-oz can low-sodium beef broth
1 quart canned tomatoes or tomato juice
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2-3 cups diced or shredded leftover French Dip beef slices
1/2 cup frozen lima beans or peas
1 8-oz can green beans, undrained
Combine first 10 ingredients (through thyme) in a dutch oven or stock pot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender (10-15 minutes). Stir in beef, lima beans or peas, and green beans. Return to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Refrigerate overnight for best results. Remove bay leaf before serving.
Reheat desired amount when ready to serve.
NOTE: Fresh green beans can be substituted for canned.
Add the fresh beans with the other fresh vegetables.
It was mentioned today that here in Iowa we have not seen the sun for about 10 days. Looking at the forecast, it will be two or three days until we even get a glimpse of that vitamin D fortified celestial body. Until then, we will turn to other sources to warm our souls and lift our spirits.
Pure comfort … in a bowl.
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