Thursday, November 8, 2012

A recipe for you.

I fixed this last night, found here at Sweet Anna's food blog.  A chilly day always has me heading for my soup folder.  We love them, especially those that have lots of ingredients, a meal in one pot and very satisfying.  Served up with a nice crusty bread - or not - it is delicious.  If you didn't add the meat  this would also make a great vegetarian meal.  Gregg was in DC yesterday and had a two hour commute back home - yes the traffic was crazy especially getting out of the city - without a lot of traffic it is a 45 minute drive - but when he walked in the door, the house had a wonderfully welcoming aroma, a lovely side benefit of this soup.

Hearty Beef, Sausage, Bean and Potato Soup

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground sausage (I already had some in the fridge - it contained sage - probably altered the flavor slightly but it suited us)
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 large carrots, chopped
2-3 celery stalks, chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced (I always throw in four or five cloves)
2-3 potatoes, cubed
4 cans (or about 8 cups) beans, drained and rinsed (I only used 2 cans because for us that seemed plenty.  If I went the vegetarian route I would use the 4 cans)
1 can crushed tomatoes, undrained (I used two cans because we love tomatoes)
Seasoning salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon of chili powder
6 cups chicken (or vegetable stock if you want to make this soup vegetarian)

In a large (6 qt or bigger) soup pot, brown the sausage and ground beef over medium-high heat, breaking up the meat thoroughly.  Remove to a plate and set aside.  If your meat was very lean and there is not much grease in the pan, pour in a little olive oil and then saute the onions, carrots and celery until soft and starting to brown slightly.  Stir occasionally and scrape up the bits from the bottom of the pan as this will add flavor.

Stir in the garlic and cook for approximately two minutes, or until very fragrant.

Add the remaining ingredients, including the meat, and stir well.  Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low.  Cover and simmer for at least an hour.

You can eat straight away or make ahead the day before.  The longer it sits the more flavor will develop.

Added note: as my energy level disappears the later the day develops and my fingers have a hard time catching up with my brain, first thing in the morning I get my ingredients ready and put them in one spot next to where I prepare the soup.  You can cook the meat a couple of hours before and put it in the fridge until you are ready to mix everything together.  I chop up the carrots, celery, onions, mince the cloves, put this all into one big bowl and cover tightly. The potatoes I peel and cube, put into a pan and cover with water to prevent them going brown; before using drain thoroughly.  I also measure the salt, pepper and chili, mix them together and put into one small ramekin. For me it is easier to break the process up and when I am ready to prepare the soup, I have everything within easy reach.

There are lots of left-overs, we are also having this tonight and I will probably freeze the rest.  I'm sure you can cut the recipe in half if you don't want to make quite as much.

I realize I am probably preaching to the choir with the more experienced cooks out there, but just in case there are some newbies to cooking, hopefully a few tips will help.