Sunday, September 18, 2016

Tuscan Beef & Vegetable Soup

It's rainy and dismal on the mountain top today, but I don't really mind. 

Yesterday was such a busy day, it's nice to have an excuse to spend time indoors today, puttering around my little house. 

I do love to putter, that's for sure!

It's the everyday domestica that feels so calming and grounds me after a busy day, week, month. 

The smell of the laundry as the sheets are tumbling in the washer. 

The sound of the dishwasher as it goes through the cycles, cleaning up the breakfast dishes. 

Freshening up the house for fall, bringing in little touches of autumn with candles, throws, pillows. 

It's time to be cozy and embrace the interior once more. 

I realize I never did tell you what happened with the Amara awards. I wasn't one of the select few who made the shortlist, unfortunately, but that's ok - I am truly so honored that I was even nominated, and I sincerely thank all of you who voted for me, for your belief in my little blog. 

The folks that made the shortlist are incredibly talented bloggers - you should go check them out when you have some free time to bounce around - here's the link to all the shortlisted blogs: Amara Awards - Shortlisted Blogs.

On a completely separate note, do you remember the other day I told you I was going to make a nice pot of beef and vegetable soup? Well, I did....and it was one of my favorite soups ever, so I am so glad I took photos during the process, so I could share it with you!

As per usual, my 'recipes' are really more of a tutorial and less of an exact science. My cooking style would be called 'winging it' for sure!

Ok, here we go - Mountain Mama's Tuscan Beef & Vegetable Soup. 


I started off with 3 chopped onions, rough chop, in my large LeCrueset dutch oven, over a medium flame with a drizzle of olive oil. 

While they were sauteeing, I chopped 3 carrots and 3 stalks of celery. They were added to the onions, and all got sauteed for another 5 minutes or so. 


When they had softened, I made a hole in the center of the veggies, and added 2 heads of garlic, minced, in a tbs of butter. 


When the garlic was nice and fragrant and golden, I stirred all the veggies together and made a new hole in the center for a lb of organic grass fed ground beef, 90 percent lean. 

After the beef was nicely browned, I stirred everything together and added in a zucchini, diced small. I wanted all the veggies to be about equal in size. 


I sprinkled some dried thyme leaves over the zucchini - about a half teaspoon or so. I've noticed that zucchini and thyme really work well together and I've been using thyme in all my zucchini recipes. 


At this point, I added in 2 containers of Swanson's Low Sodium Beef Broth. 


Next I popped a tray of cherry tomatoes into the oven at 425 degrees for about a half hour. 


I added a can of crushed tomatoes with basil to the simmering soup. 


I seasoned the soup with some dried basil and my favorite all purpose seasoning, Vermont Country Seasoning. I would guess about a tablespoon or more of basil, and a little less than a teaspoon of the Vermont Seasoning. 


I put the lid on the dutch oven at this point, turned the heat to low, and let it simmer for about a half hour, while the tomatoes roasted in the oven. 


Oooh, it's starting to look really good already - but I'm not done yet!  In went a half package of imported pasta - the shape I used is called Trofie, and it's made by Pirro, one of my favorite pasta companies. Amazon sells it here, but I purchased it in a local Italian specialty market, the same place I buy the Tuttorosso canned tomatoes. 


The cherry tomatoes were absolutely gorgeous when done roasting, and I dumped the whole tray with the juices right into the soup. I used a potato masher to 'pop' the tomatoes in the soup, as I didn't want any tomatoes left whole in the completed soup. 

I also added two cans of Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed. 


The finished soup - oh my gosh, I can't even describe how heavenly this soup was! The roasted tomatoes gave the soup such a fresh taste, far superior to any soup you will ever, ever eat out of a can! 

I have been ruined forever for canned soups - I haven't touched them in years, once I realized how much sodium was in them. I guess that's when I started experimenting with making my own soups - and once I did, there was no return. 


I served the soup with a hearty sprinkle of shredded 6 cheese Italian blend, by Sargento

Can you just see all that amazing goodness in there?

We enjoyed the soup with a warm, crusty whole grain baguette. 

Heaven, right there. 


And guess what? 5 quarts for the freezer - you know how happy that makes me! 


This is just one of the three freezers that I have - this is the freezer in the downstairs fridge. Not much room left, that's for sure - and the other two freezers are worse! 

I don't know what I'm going to do with all my produce when I run out of freezer space. I guess I'll have to send home containers with Sweetie - he's got two empty freezers just waiting to be filled!

It's a good problem to have, for sure. And all these amazing meals will be so very welcome in the long winter months, when all our fresh home grown produce is nothing but a memory. 

But we'll be eating well, that's for sure - after all, isn't that what all this hard work right now is all about? Preserving the bounty?

We are so blessed. 

43 comments:

  1. I wish I had room to freeze more meals. I never make anything in the crock pot that I don't have leftovers to freeze.
    Brenda

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    1. I'm starting to wish I had more freezer space, too, Brenda - even with 3 freezers!!

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  2. There's going to be some good eating at your house this coming winter. Hope your weekend was so fun that Monday will feel good too. Blessings, xoxo, Susie

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    1. Hmmmmm....I'm not sure Mondays ever feel good, Susie!

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  3. Well, I think your blog is a winner either way!
    Lisa

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  4. Wow, this is my kind of soup! Putting this on the menu this week. I found you just in time...going grocery shopping tomorrow! Sorry you didn't make the short list but you were nominated and I think that is great. Your recipes are always fabulous!

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    1. Thanks so much, AnnMarie - I hope you like the soup if you give it a try!

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  5. OH this looks DELICIOUS! Thanks for sharing, Debbie!

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    1. And it tastes better than it looks Linda!! :)

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  6. I think we have the same cooking style, which can be summed up as 'pile it in'! It is wonderful to be able to literally eat the fruits of our labor, isn't it?

    It was rainy today as we drove from Vermont to Maine, but like you, I didn't mind. Heaven knows the region needs the water!

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    1. Have a safe trip and a great time, my friend!

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  7. Yes, we hear that alot, ha ha ha ha LOL---about the what the term our "shag dancing" means in other countries! Funny. The soup looks delicious!! I can almost smell it and would sure love to taste it...so will have to try this recipe! I love to make soup and stews.

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    1. The older I get the more I love a nice bowl of soup - it's just so comforting, isn't it?

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  8. Yes, we hear that alot, ha ha ha ha LOL---about the what the term our "shag dancing" means in other countries! Funny. The soup looks delicious!! I can almost smell it and would sure love to taste it...so will have to try this recipe! I love to make soup and stews.

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  9. I love soups and want to give your recipe a try! Sheila

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    1. Well I sure hope you do, Sheila, and that you enjoy it!

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  10. That is a very tasty looking soup! I think Sweetie's freezers are called to you, "fill me!" You are absolutely right, canned soups just aren't edible. Same way with salad dressings...so easy to make and ever so much better than any bottled products.

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    1. So absolutely true, Donna - I've been making my own dressings for a few years also - it's amazing what kind of garbage they put into the supermarket dressings!

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  11. You're gonna LOVE all that soup as the temperatures drop. Looks super delicious and healthy too! Thanks for the 'how to' recipe! xo

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    1. You are most welcome - and yes, I know that all my hard work now will mean some nice, cozy nights in winter that I will be able to go the easy route and just pull something out of the freezer!

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  12. Your soup looks amazing! I'm so ready to cook soups and stews. We have a heat index of 104 today, so I just can't bring myself to do it yet. ;) I'm still wanting cold foods, especially cold pasta salads. I can almost smell your simmering veggies now...

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    1. Oh my gosh, Tina - 104?? How do you stand it? I sure hope it cools off for you soon so you can enjoy some warm and comforting foods for a change!

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  13. Yummy Deb. You will be eating such yummy foods all winter. Thanks for sharing the recipe.
    Kris

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  14. First, I want to give you props on how clean your stove top looks. Mine is always a mess during harvest season, especially with soup. This soup looks great by the way! We, like you, freeze lots of our harvest goodies. Last Summer we bought a standing freezer that is 100% garden. I'm a bit worried as it's half filled already and I know we still a few weeks of picking left! Enjoy all your dishes!

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    1. Ha ha, that's so funny, Pamela! You should have seen it over the weekend when I was making bolognese - not so clean at that point, there were splashes everywhere! I also have a stand up freezer in my garage, and it's FULL!!!! What a great complaint to have, isn't it?

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  15. mmmmmm... I'll bet that soup would can up beautifully! Minus the pasta - you should never can pasta, but add it when you reheat the soup. I have been doing a lot of pressure canning lately - green beans, squash, spaghetti sauce, beef... it never seems to end, but I just love eating my "fresh" garden produce in the winter! I'm so sorry you didn't get in the short list, but your blog is a winner on my list any day!

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    1. I haven't quite mastered the whole canning thing, Vickie, and it scares me a little, to be honest. I had friends that gave me canned tomatoes two years in a row and they were spoiled....so I'm a bit nervous about canning. Freezing is so much simpler for me!

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  16. You are such a good "soup maker"! Thanks for the recipe. Nancy

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  17. You are such a good "soup maker"! Thanks for the recipe. Nancy

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    1. It's something I have learned in the past few years, Nancy - before that I rarely ever made soups!

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  18. Oh my goodness, this soup looks amazing! You know I will be "pinning" so I can make it soon. I will just cut back on the beans though (1 can instead of 2), as I can't digest them. I figure with using just one can, I can easily pick them out of my bowl - then Brian and Tim can have them. ;-) I also can only use a tiny bit of garlic, as I can't digest that either! Such is the life with IBS. Anyhoo, I'm sorry you didn't make the short list for the award, but it definitely is an honor in itself to be nominated. :-)

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    1. Yikes, you poor thing, Melanie - I wonder if you roast the garlic first would it make it any easier to digest?

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    2. No, doesn't make a difference. It all has to do with certain foods being high in FODMAPs (Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides & Polyols). In easy to understand terms, they're short-chain carbohydrates that are incompletely absorbed in the GI tract and then are fermented by gut bacteria. Big no-no's for people (like me) with IBS! They're the foods that cause the IBS to flare up big-time.

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  19. Yummy! It has to be such a wonderful flavor and I love all the fresh ingredients. It was 107* here today with the heat index and I can't tell you how tired I am of this heat and humidity! Fall is my favorite season and I would love it if we could have cooler temps. You really have a bounty of goodness in your freezers! What a delightful winter menu you will have.

    xo
    Pat

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    1. 107?????????????? Oh wow, you must be hearty stock to be able to live in that heat!!!

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  20. Nice recipe! The soup looks so rich and hearty ♥

    summerdaisycottage.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Summer! It was very hearty and made a wonderful supper - and will make 5 more wonderful suppers in the future when I break out those freezer containers!

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  21. I think your blog is great award or not! I also wish I had more room in my freezer for this soup!!! Looks absolutely delicious!

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    1. It was awesome, Debbie, not gonna lie!! :) You need to get yourself a stand up freezer, my friend - it's my saving grace on busy work days, to be able to just go to the freezer and pull something out for dinner!

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