I’ve mentioned my rural roots here in previous posts, but for those of you that are new to Relishing It, I grew up on a small dairy farm in western North Dakota. And I still get terribly homesick from time to time. So this is one of those recipes that reminds me of my childhood, and helps me cope with being away. It’s strange, even though I’ve spent more of my life away from Regent ND, it still has my heart. It’s still my home. One of the hardest parts of growing older is wanting those comforts of the past, but coming to terms with the fact that they’ll never again be as you remember them. It’s the double-edge of nostalgia, I suppose. I miss being that carefree kid running around the farm. I miss seeing my childhood friends. I miss regularly seeing my aunts, uncles, and cousins. And I miss talking with my grandparents, who have all passed away.
My view every morning for 18 years
When I was a teenager, I worked at the museum in town during the summers. On my lunch breaks I would venture up to my grandparents’ house for lunch. My grandma would always make sure to have something ready for me and the three of us would eat together and talk about our lives. Even then, I really did realize that it was a special time and that one day I’d look back on it with a mixture of longing and gratitude. My grandparents (on both sides of the family) were real salt-of-the-earth people. They were hard-working, no-nonsense, and very kind. I’m so lucky to have had them in my life. So many of my interests now are things that they did and were interested in– preserving, fermenting, gardening, sausage-making, and even distilling alcohol. The conversations we could have!
The soup I’m sharing with you today is based on a soup that my Grandma Jesch used to make for me on some of those lunch breaks. I only have the memory of the flavors to go off of, but I think this is a pretty good representation. She would often simmer an entire beef roast for hours, and then turn it into this most amazing, hearty soup. It has chunks of tender beef, along with root vegetables. But, the flavors I remember most are the warm spices. There was a hint of something unusual that drew me to this soup whenever she made it– cinnamon, star anise, and allspice are what I figured they might be– and here they work beautifully. Also, you’d be a fool not to finish this dish with a splash of cream. Hope you enjoy!
The Recipe: Hearty Soup of Roast Beef, Root Vegetables, and Warm Spices
2 tablespoons olive oil
About a 3 pound beef roast ( preferably grass-fed and bone-in)
1/2 white onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 quart beef broth, preferably homemade
4 cups water
5-6 large carrots, cut into chunks
3-4 parsnips, cut into chunks (if too large, remove the woody center)
3 celery stalks, cut into chunks
8-10 smallish yellow potatoes, cut into chunks
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh)
1 dried bay leaf
kosher salt, and fresh black pepper, to taste
fresh parsley and heavy cream, for serving
Heat a large Dutch oven with olive oil in it. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Sear all sides of it until a deep golden color develops. Remove beef from the pan. Add the onion and garlic to the hot pan and sauté for a few minutes until tender. Add the beef back to the pan, along with the beef stock, water and the spices of cinnamon, star anise, allspice, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a high simmer, then reduce heat to medium, cover and let simmer for about 2 1/2 hours or until the beef is somewhat tender. Next, add the celery, carrots, and parsnips to the pot and simmer until the beef is fully tender, or practically falling off of the bone, another 30-45 minutes, or so. Then, add the potato chunks and cook for about 20 more minutes until they are tender. Meanwhile, remove the beef from the pot and separate it into chunks using a fork– removing any visible fat, as well. Return the pieces of beef to the pot when the potatoes are completely done. Re-season with salt and pepper. Remove and discard the star anise, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf. Sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and a splash of cream before serving. Enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by today!