The other night was pizza night, from which I had about a cup of extra sauce. As I was thinking of what I’d make for dinner tonight (where’s that meal plan when I need it?!), I remembered the black beans I had made extra of and were in the freezer. I had just bought some soup bones from a local farmer and thought a nice stew would be in order. This fall weather makes me crave soup. Or as the movie we watched last night, My Father’s Glory, put it so nice – it’s one of man’s greatest inventions!
What’s so great about soup? Well, you can add just about anything you have on hand, throw in some fresh herbs from the garden, and let it simmer all day, filling the house with such a delightful aroma so that all look forward to the evening meal. If you make it from scratch using soup bones, the nutritional value is equal to that of gold. Not to mention it’s a great way to make a little bit of meat stretch a long way. Coincidentally, you can also be frugal by using up any left over odds and ends of veggies, beans, or potatoes. Often times I will find I don’t have enough potatoes to make a complete side for the whole family, but I have just enough to add some weight to a soup or stew. Without further ado…
Random Beef Stew
2 -3 quarts filtered water
1-2 beef soup bones
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar, this will help pull the nutrients out of the bones
1 cup veggie pizza sauce, or any tomato sauce
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 large onion
3-4 medium organic potatoes
2 large carrots, preferably organic since they’re a root veggie
3-4 cups soaked, cooked beans –
1-4 teaspoons real salt (check to taste)
Optional: few dashes of fermented, organic soy sauce and/or hot sauce
Throw in whatever fresh herbs you have on hand – I used basil, rosemary, thyme, sage and oregano. If you like it spicy, add a few dashes of red pepper (with the baby and little ones, I leave it out and just put the peppers on the table for everyone else). You can also throw in any other root vegetables you might have on hand, from the garden or your CSA. Soup is a great disguise for random, not-so-popular vegetables.
Bring the above to a boil, turn down to a simmer and leave for several hours. About 30-45 minutes before you’re ready to serve it, you can add any softer veggies – like leafy ones. I added a half a head of napa cabbage because that’s what we had from our CSA. You can also pull out the bones at this time, scrape off any remaining meat, put the meat back in the soup, and discard the bones (our dogs love them).
Add a fresh salad, some apple ginger water kefir, perhaps even a cheese plate of raw cheeses from a local farmer (or yourself), and you’re in for a gourmet treat.