Monday, 11 November 2013

Perfect soup weather.

Fall weather makes me want to make soup and knit - not necessarily in that order.  Fall in Vancouver is beautiful in one way - multi-coloured leaves falling everywhere - and dreary in another way with the grey skies and rain.  But it is perfect weather to make soup.

My stomach and I are not fans of tomato-based soup, so I like to try different varieties of soups that don't call for tomatoes (like the Golden Cauliflower Soup from last week).  A little tomato paste is OK, but that's it.

We went for dinner at Tapenade Bistro the other night and they had beet soup on the menu.  It was tasty but not the hearty beet soup I remember, so I found this recipe from Paleo Zone Nutrition.  The only difference is that I used two pounds of stew meat and more cabbage as I wanted it to be hearty and filling on it's own for lunch this week.

Hearty Beet Stoup (it is really too thick to be called soup)
(Serves 8)

2 lbs. grass-fed stew meat
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 Tbsp. bacon fat or ghee
1 quart of water
1 quart beef stock
6 oz. tomato paste
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
2-3 large beets, baked, peeled and grated
4 cups coleslaw mix (or you can shred some cabbage and grate a large carrot)
2 cloves minced garlic
1-2 tsp. dry dill
Juice of one lemon (I used two limes instead)

  1. Cut the stew beef into 1/2" dice - it's easier to do it the stew meat is still partially frozen
  2. Melt the bacon fat (or ghee) in a large stew pot.
  3. Brown the stew meat and onions (5-10 minutes) over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the water, beef stock, tomato paste, salt and pepper.
  5. Cover and simmer for one and a half hours.
  6. Add the grated beets, coleslaw mix (or cabbage and carrot) and garlic.
  7. Cover and simmer for another 30-45 minutes.
  8. Stir in lemon juice and dill.
  9. Serve with a dollop of full-fat sour cream if it's in your diet - it adds a nice tang. 

I love the creaminess (without the cream) of butternut squash.  This recipe is a combination of one from Plaid and Paleo (who got the idea from Rob Wolf), one from The Harvest Food Blog and my idea of what makes a good 

Butternut Squash Soup.
(Serves 8-10)

I added celery after I took the picture.

1 large butternut squash
Olive oil
4 slices of good bacon, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 2" chunks
1 large onion, peeled and cut into quarters
1 Granny Smith apple, cored (not peeled)
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 stalks of celery (with celery leaves is even better), cut into large chunks
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. dried ginger
1 tsp. dried thyme
 1 cup apple cider (organic is best)
1 quart of chicken stock (I had just made some yummy bone broth so I used that)
3 cups of sliced organic mushrooms
4 cups of organic baby spinach
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise, take the seeds out, drizzle olive oil on the cut side and place both halves cut side down on a parchment covered baking pan.
  2. Bake at 375 degrees for one hour or until a paring knife goes in easily.  Cool.
  3. Place the bacon into a large cold soup pot and brown over medium heat until crisp - 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the bacon from the pot and drain on paper towels, leaving the bacon fat in the pot.
  5. Place the carrot, onion, apple, garlic and celery into a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped.  The mixture is going to be pureed in the blender when cooked so a rough chop is fine.
  6. Soften the vegetables in the bacon fat with the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and thyme - about 5 minutes.
  7. Add the apple cider and broth to the vegetables and simmer covered for 15 minutes, while you remove the butternut squash flesh from the skin.
  8. Add the butternut squash to the vegetable mixture and cook for another 15 minutes.
  9. Put the sliced mushrooms and baby spinach in the bottom of another large soup pot or a large bowl if you don't have two pots.
  10. Carefully, half a blender full at a time (and holding the lid on with a towel as hot liquid can explode in a blender and you will be cleaning butternut squash off your walls for days), puree the mixture and pour it over the spinach and mushrooms.
  11. Continue until you have pureed the whole pot of soup.
  12. Simmer for another 15 minutes, then taste and add salt and pepper as required.
  13. It will be even better the second day. 
    Add a few pieces of the bacon.

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