The first time I ever made this soup my husband wrote me a love letter. Really. Nothing says lovin’ like a big pot of hearty beef and bean soup.
The key ingredient is a cut of meat called a shank cross cut. It is sometimes referred to as a center cut. This cut of meat has a roundish bone surrounded by meat. It is very tough, therefore it needs to be boiled for at least 3 hours, perhaps 4 for the best taste. The thing to remember with beef is the tougher the cut, the tastier the meat.
If at all possible, get grass fed, free range beef. A shank cut is one of the cheaper cuts of meat, so splurge. I pay around $4.35/lb at my local organic butcher. My family likes lots of meat in their soup, so I get one shank per person. However, you could get one shank for every two people.
This recipe yields about 10 cans of soup. You might be able to get those cans of soup on sale with coupons, but this soup is real food, full of real nutrition that will help you and your family stay healthy and energized. Serve with fresh hard crust bread. Yum!
Here’s my recipe (with some estimates on amounts):
- Shank cross cut beef
- 2 – 4 cups beef stock (homemade if you have it)
- water (keep adding water during recipe so your soup is desired consistency – thick or thin soup)
- large sweet onion
- 1 – 2 cups dried beans (I like Trader Joe’s assorted dried bean mix. Rinse and possibly soak before using.)
- 1 turnip cut into big cubes
- 1 parsnip cut into large pieces
- 4 celery stalks cut into thirds
- 8 large carrots peeled and cut into large chunks
- 2 large garlic cloves (freshly crushed)
- handfull of parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup or less of small noodles
Start with a large soup pot. Rinse off your beef and then place in the pot. Cover beef with stock and water. Bring to a boil and then cover and let simmer for an hour. Add whole onion. Add water. Let simmer for another hour. Add 1 to 2 cups beans. Add parsnip, turnip, celery, parsley and bay leaf. Let simmer for an hour. Add carrots. Let simmer for 30 minutes. Turn off heat. Add uncooked noodles. Let sit for 5 minutes. The noodles will cook in the hot soup without additional heat. Soup is done.
- I do not add salt or pepper, but put it on the table so everyone can season their soup.
- I know that this recipe doesn’t have specific amounts. Sorry, I do it by taste. There isn’t a right or wrong in the quantities. It IS important that you have enough liquid to cover everything in the pot, but not so much liquid that you have a soup that tastes like water in the end.
- The noodles will expand and soak up all your liquid, so use noodles sparingly or don’t use them at all if you want lots of broth.
- A great place to get organic veggies is your local farmer’s market. Help support local organic farmers and they will continue to grow organic food for you.
- An added benefit of making a big pot of homemade soup is that it helps heat up the kitchen on a cold winter day.
I hope this recipe helps to inspire you to make soup for your family and share your recipes with the rest of us.
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