Pot roast, Day 3…

November 19, 2015

soup n pc

Similar to above illustration. This is one from last year. I failed to take a pic  of the latest version.

…wherein we make the best vegetable beef soup in the world.

No brag, just fact. This stuff, people, is just excellent. It will fill you up, warm you up, make you happy, and probably improve your love life. And, provided you have followed my earlier instructions on how to make your pot roast, it’s damn near foolproof.
First, pull the beef out of your pot roast leftovers, and commence to dicing it up. I like mine in small dice, so it sort of falls apart into shreds when it cooks. Pull out any large chunks of fat, but leave the bits of collagen (they look like gelatin in streaks running through the roast), because they’ll dissolve. You want about two cups of diced beef.

Chunk that into your slow cooker with three 15-oz cans of diced tomatoes, a 7-oz can of tomato sauce, and about a cup of tomato juice. Have another cup of tomato juice in reserve; you may need it later, or not. If you don’t, you can use it to mix a Bloody Mary.

Add a 12-oz bag of frozen mixed vegetables, an envelope of Lipton’s French Onion soup mix, several dashes of Worcestershire sauce, and a dash or two of Tabasco. Turn the slow cooker on high.

Go back to your pot roast remains. Pull out the potatoes, carrots and onions. Scrape all the jelled jus off them, and dump all that in the slow cooker. Dice the potatoes and carrots up into about 3/4 to 1-inch dice; I like about two cups of potatoes and one of carrots. If you don’t have that many left, you may want to quickly boil some more; just boil them together, in some lightly salted water, until they’re starting to be tender, about 10 minutes, then drain and add them.

Wait about adding your veggies from the pot roast, though; they’ve already cooked some five hours or so in the oven, and if you put them in for too long in the slow cooker, they’re subject to falling apart. I wait until an hour or so before we’re going to eat, and after the cooker is turned to low, before I add mine; you just want to get them warmed through nicely, and full of a nice tomato-ey taste.

Cook this on high for about four hours. Then you can turn it down to low, add your roasted veggies, and let it go as long as you need it to, but in any event, a couple more hours. In the alternative, you can let it cook on low all day, if you’re not going to be around to change it.

A note: I have begun generally using Yukon Gold potatoes for most everything, because they seem to combine the best elements of redskins and russets in all applications. These Yukon Golds held their shape nicely after five hours in the oven and another two or three in the slow cooker, as did the carrots. Redskins would do the same, but russets would tend to disintegrate a bit, I think.

This is not EXACTLY how I made mine, because I used home-canned tomatoes, tomato juice and a jar of homemade sherried tomato soup, because I had it handy. I also added to it the leftover beef and gravy we had not eaten the night before, which added a bit of beef bouillon to the mix, as well as a tad of thickening agent.  I urge you to use whatever combination of tomato-ish products you have on hand to make the soup the consistency you want. (The extra tomato juice I told you to reserve is in the event you get all your stuff in there, it gets good and hot, and you decide it needs to be thinned down a bit.) Do not neglect to add tomato sauce or paste, because it adds a more intense tomato flavor that adds to the richness of your soup.

As another aside, you can also skip the pot roast step and make this with stew beef. Salt, pepper and brown your beef (I cut mine in smaller chunks first), then put some wine and some beef broth in the pan with it and simmer it for an hour. You then have to do all your potatoes and carrots from their raw state, and you don’t as much wonderful jus that is created by the roast, but it ain’t half bad.

You can add other seasonings to this — I will occasionally add rosemary, or a bit of marjoram — but the primary seasoning agent is the Lipton’s onion soup mix. Don’t ask me why. I’ve tried to duplicate the taste without it, and I can get close, but it’s not the same. You just need it.

I promise you, this is Sweet Baby Jesus good. With a grilled cheese sandwich, or a pimiento cheese sandwich, or just a stack of crackers, it’s a wonderfully hearty lunch or dinner. It just makes you feel good, and it makes your mouth happy.

It also freezes marvelously; I put mine in 16-oz plastic containers, not quite full, which is a nice two servings, and freeze them. You can run hot water over them upside down, pop the frozen soup block into a saucepan, and thaw/heat it, covered, over medium low heat relatively quickly.

Anyway, that’s the end of this pot roast, and as I’m giving most of the leftovers away, I’m already looking forward to the next one. There’s just not much that’s any better for a fall/winter meal. You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em try it.

 

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