Night Before Night-Before-Christmas Soup

Simmering on the stove: Night Before Chrismas Soup

Simmering on the stove: Night Before Chrismas Soup

Tonight’s pre-holiday soup is rich with meat, veggies, potatoes, and a broth of sturdy mocha porter beer and sour cream.  There are several “tricks” in this recipe

  1. the finely minced shiitake mushrooms make it seem slightly meatier that it actually is — with the beefier veggies masquerading as extra beef;
  2. the half cup of Bob’s Red Mill vegetable soup mix is full of lentils and split peas that dissolve into the broth to make it thicker and richer — without making it starchy or overloaded with fat;
  3. and finally, the little bits of barley offer an occasionally chewy bite that varies the texture of the pot significantly.

All these little tweaks and extras make for a pot of soup that slow cooks for hours and ends in a hearty, rib-warming bowl!

1 lb lean ground beef
1.5 lb lean trimmed stew meat
1.5 lb chopped red onion
3 lb Yukon gold potatoes, chopped
3 stalks celery, minced
1 bell pepper, minced
.5 lb baby cut carrots
1/2 c Bob’s Red Mill Vegetable Soup mix (lentils, split peas, and barley)
1/4 c pearled barley
2 cloves garlic, mashed/pressed/crushed
1.5 c finely minced shiitake mushrooms
2 qts beef stock
1 bottle (12 oz) Rogue Ale’s Mocha Porter. (or other dark malty beer)
3 T Penzey’s Beef Roast seasoning blend
1 T  Penzey’s Old World seasoning blend
1 t fine ground black pepper
1/2 t celery bitters
2 dashes Hellfire and Damnation Bitters
2 T butter
2 T Worcestershire sauce, or 2 T Fire Cider
2 T balsamic vinegar to garnish
2 c sour cream

Brown meat slowly and thoroughly with butter (it will take about 1- 1.5 hrs) — if the meat is fatty, don’t add the butter.

Add chopped onions, celery, and bell pepper, and continue over low heat until veggies are sweated.  Add garlic and beer and bring to a boil, then add beef stock.  Add remaining fresh veggies to the pot and bring to full boil, then reduce the heat to med-low and cover.  Simmer for 1.5 – 2 hrs, stirring every 1/2 hr.

Add seasonings, barley, and veggie soup mix and bring back a boil.  If the fluid level in the pot has steamed away, replenish with water at this time.  Simmer for another 1.5 – 2 hrs, again stirring every 1/2 hr.

Sitr in small dollops of sour cream at a time until thorougly incorporated and bring back to a very high simmer.  Allow to stand, covered, for 5 minutes

To finish, taste for seasoning and add a little salt or additional black pepper to taste.  Serve in warmed bowls, and garnish with 1/2 t of balsamic vinegar and a grind of black pepper.

Serve with crusty bread or oyster crackers.

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