All of the sudden, just overnight, it's gotten cold. Bam! Just. Like. That. Last night I faced the ongoing, dreaded daily dinnertime dilemma ( The 4D is what I'm calling it from here on out. You like it?) And while I usually have no trouble dreaming about what sweet things I'm going to make and share with you all here on the blog, I frequently am stumped about what to serve for dinner.
I think I need to have a little more savory food thought balance in my life. I'm working on it truly. This recipe, we affectionately call Winter Soup, winter, because this is the time of year we eat and long for it most. It's been in my mother's soup repertoire forever. Over the years, I've adjusted it, fiddled with it and changed it enough to suit the tastes of my family. It's really not that revolutionary, but there is something about it that speaks to me on a really fundamental level.
I don't recall where it came from originally as like all things passed down over time, origins become hazy. It's just a lovely bowl of comforting, cozy, yum. My husband's face lights ups with joy when he comes home to find me cooking it, and believe me this is significant as he's a tough (but kind) food critic. It pleases me to no end that he and my boys get so much enjoyment from eating it.
The other thing that is really beautiful about this recipe is that it's very easy to have most of the ingredients on hand, in fact you probably have the ingredients in your pantry, fridge or freezer already. It's economical and crazy good. Served along side some oven toasted garlic bread, a huge glass of red and you are a genius. You can thank me later.
1 lb. best quality ground beef
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 T. dried oregano
1/2 bottle of red wine (whatever you have on hand will do, however you can make it even more economical and skip this step if wine ain't your thing)
1, 28 oz. can whole, peeled tomatoes
28 oz. water, ( use the empty tomato can for this)
1 T. beef bouillon paste or 1 cube beef bouillon (I like Better than Bouillon)
3 medium carrots, chopped in to chunks
5-6 small boiling potatoes like red or yellow or 1 1/2 large russet potato, chopped into chunks
12 oz. fresh or frozen Haricot Vert or thin green beans
Sour Cream, fresh basil, Parmesan cheese for garnish
In a large heavy bottomed stock pot, brown the beef with the garlic and oregano. Drain the fat and return to the pot. Turn the heat up to high and pour the wine into the pan, scraping up all the lovely caramelized bits on the bottom. Simmer for 2 minutes, add the tomatoes, juice and all, mashing the whole tomatoes with a spoon or potato masher. Add the water and the bouillon. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the carrots, simmer for 5 minutes, then add the potatoes. Continue to cook until the potatoes are knife tender about 15-20 minutes, max. Add the green beans and simmer for 4-5 minutes until just warmed through, you want them to be crisp tender.
Ladle into bowls and garnish accordingly. Serve with toasts. Sit back and enjoy the raves.
8 slices rustic bread, country loaf or sourdough works well
3 cloves garlic
Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly butter one side of the bread, place on a rimmed cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and rub the whole garlic clove over the surface of the bread. Set aside and serve with soup.
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