Oh, I’m so happy to see the sun! It feels like it’s been a looong time. I’m celebrating by putting aside the left-over Christmas chocolates and reaching for something a bit healthier.
Soup is my winter go-to food. It’s easy to make even without a recipe. Well, I’m a bit of a recipe hoarder, but I’ll often go out on a limb and wing it, especially with soup. One of the family’s favourite soup recipes is from the cookbook ‘Crazy Plates’ by Janet and Greta Podleski. The only changes I make to their recipe are that I use organic ground beef, home-made beef stock, carrots and potatoes from our garden, I up the garlic quite a bit as I’m using our own fabulous garlic. Here it is (a la Dolway Organic Garden):
1 lb or so of organic ground beef, get this cooking in a six litre soup pot set over medium high heat. Add 1 large chopped onion (it doesn’t matter if the beef is cooked when you add the onion), let the onion cook for about 5 minutes, then stir in 2-3 stalks of chopped celery, 1 chopped green bell pepper, 4 cloves garlic minced. Cook and stir for another 5 minutes or so, until the beef is cooked. Stir in a can of diced tomatoes, about 6 cups of organic beef broth, 2 medium size organic potatoes, washed well and diced, 2 carrots, peeled and diced, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1-2 teaspoons of dried basil, 1 teaspoon paprika. Get all of this simmering for half an hour or 45 minutes, then add in some chopped savoy cabbage. The original recipe calls for 3 cups, but I generally add more than that. Let all this simmer for another half an hour or so, make sure potatoes and carrots are tender. Grind in some pepper, sprinkle with salt to taste.
That’s it! So delicious and easy, and if you are feeling really energetic, while the soup is simmering, why not make some quick French Bread? Here’s an easy recipe:
French Style Loaf
1 1/2 Tbsp (22 ml) active dry yeast
1 Tbsp (15 ml) granulated sugar
2 cup (500 ml) warm water
5 to 6 cups (1.5l) all purpose flour
1 Tbsp (15 ml) salt
1 egg white, beaten
- Combine the yeast with the sugar and warm water in a large bowl and allow to proof. The yeast will burble to the top of the liquid. Meanwhile, stir together five cups of the flour with the salt.
- Gradually add the flour mixture into the yeast mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until you have stiff dough. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until it is no longer sticky, about 10 minutes.
- Coat the inside of the large bowl (no need to wash it) with a small amount of butter or oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning the dough so it is coated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- Punch down the dough. Turn out on a lightly floured surface and shape into two long, French style loaves. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and place the loaves onto the sheet. Slash the tops of the loaves diagonally in five or six places, and brush with the egg white.
- Place in a cold oven, set the oven temperature to 400 ° F, and bake for 35 minutes, or until the loaves are well browned and hollow sounding when you knock on the bottom.
- Makes two loaves.