Yesterday, my Beloved Husband and I swung by our new farmer's market on the way to picking up the Darling Munchkin from school (she'd been on an overnight "bonding" trip with her class). Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your viewpoint), the only person there was a local beef farmer (Gregory's Boxwood Farm - and on Facebook as well). We had a great chat, and I purchased about 2 pounds of "beef soup bones" from him. Usually, you'd expect, well... bones, right? However, these were more like cross-cuts about 1/2 inch thick, with a good cross section of bone in them (he thought they were a bit odd, too, but he'd used a different butchering company than his usual). There was quite a bit of meat attached, and I immediately decided - since the day was a classic cloudy and damp fall day - that soup was on the menu!
Having the beef in hand, and some black beans (dried) in the pantry, I was a good little girl and googled around to look for a beef and black bean soup recipe - and this is the one I came across. I didn't have everything on THAT list, but I decided to use it as a jumping off point.
This is what I came up with, and it's had my Beloved and our Darling greedily slurping it down since it finished cooking! FAIR WARNING: if y'all don't like spicy food, you WILL have to make adjustments to tone it down - and this makes quite a bit, so feel free to cut it in half if necessary.
- 1.5 to 2 pounds of beef for soup, cut into a small dice (half- to quarter-inch cubes)
- 1.5 C. diced carrots
- 1.5 C. diced celery
- 2-3 C. diced onion
- 2 TB minced garlic
- 2 TB Emeril's Southwest Seasoning (from here - and I make it without the salt)
- 2-4 TB bacon fat (or olive oil, but I really wanted a rich, lucious flavor)
Sprinkle the Southwest Seasoning over the diced meat and mix to coat.
Heat up a large Dutch Oven - 6 quart size - over medium high heat and use about 1 TB of the bacon fat to brown the beef. Remember, don't crowd the meat! As these cubes are small, this will go very quickly, so keep an eye on things. Remove the beef to a bowl and set to one side.
Add in the rest of the bacon fat, and then the onions. Saute on medium high heat until softened, and then add in the garlic, celery, and carrots. Continue to saute for another 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently.
- 1 14oz. can of diced tomatoes
- 1 can of RoTel Hot Diced Tomatoes (this would be a good place to bump the spice level down if you want)
- 1 4.5oz can of chopped green chiles (I used Old El Paso)
- 4 14oz cans of beef stock (Swanson's fat-free works great!)
- 6 C cooked black beans
- 1-3 TB more of Southwest Seasoning, depending on your tastebuds
You could, if you want, also add lots of generous grinds of pepper to this! (Mmmmmm, PEPPER!)
Dump all those in, stir really well, and bring it up to a boil over high heat. Once it's boiling, drop the heat down to a simmer, cover it up, and let her bubble quietly away for about an hour and a half to two hours. After about an hour, test the seasoning level and add additional Seasoning if needed. This would also be the time to add a little bit of salt if you want to, but I find that if you get enough flavor in via the Hot Tomatoes, the Chiles, and the Seasoning, you will need very little salt. In any case, use a light hand with the salt: it's better for people to add to personal taste than for something to be too salty (and, yes, things CAN be too salty!)
You can serve this over rice, which the Beloved Husband likes, or with a yummy, crusty piece of fresh-baked bread (or cornbread!) alongside.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go do some greedy slurping of my own... ;-)