Gordon loves cooking and experimenting with food. He loves making new dishes, particularly with unusual or underused ingredients.
Beef is perhaps not one of the first principal ingredients you would think of when planning to make soup. Chicken, ham, or even simply a variety of root vegetables are probably considerably more popular. There are, however, a number of delicious soups that can be prepared using beef as a base ingredient. Russian borscht (beetroot soup) will very often incorporate beef, while in modern times, Scotch broth is frequently made with beef rather than the more traditional mutton or lamb.
The most important thing to remember when making any kind of soup is that a good soup begins with a good stock. It doesn't matter whether you are making beef soup, chicken or vegetable, the stock must be flavoursome, robust and natural if you are to enjoy the finished soup at its best. While making stock from scratch at home is incredibly easy, it is time consuming. As the process is described below, tips will be given where applicable on how to expedite the procedure.
How to Make Beef Stock for Soup
Tip: It is a good idea to plan making beef soup from scratch far enough ahead that you can make the stock one day and the soup itself the next. You could even keep the stock refrigerated for up to three days or deep frozen for a couple of months.
The beef which will ultimately be included in the soup is going to be cooked in this instance as part of the stock making process. Alternatively, you may wish to make the soup with leftover beef from a roast dinner. When choosing the beef for this recipe, you want a cut that requires long, slow cooking. Shin is perfect but you may find specific pieces of beef in your supermarket labelled boiling beef. This usually consists of meat still on the bone and is ideal.
Although the piece of boiling beef used in this recipe did contain a small bone, it is vital to know that it is the bones that give stock its flavours much more than the meat. That is why additional beef bones have also been used. Beef bones are very cheap to buy but you may have to ask for them in your supermarket or butcher's shop, rather than simply find them on general display.
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
Enough stock for 6 to 8 soup servings
- 1lb piece of boiling beef or shin of beef
- 1 and 1/2 lbs beef bones
- 2 small to medium carrots, washed, trimmed and roughly chopped
- 2 sticks of celery, washed, trimmed and roughly chopped
- 1 small white onion, peeled and quartered
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 1 tsp coarse sea salt
- 6 pints cold water
- Put the beef and beef bones in to a large stock pot. Add the vegetables and all the seasonings, followed by the water. Put on a high heat to achieve a simmer, then reduce the heat to very low, cover and continue to simmer for three hours.
- Turn off the heat. Use a large slotted spoon to remove the beef and bones to a plate. Cover the plate and the pot and leave both for a couple of hours to cool.
- The beef should easily peel free from the bones. Discard all the fat and gristle and put the beef in a plastic dish with a lid. Refrigerate overnight.
- Remove all the pieces of veg from the stock pot with the slotted spoon and discard. Strain the stock through a fine sieve to remove any lingering large solids, cover and again, refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, you will see the fat has congealed on the top of your stock. Gently break and lift away with a slotted spoon.
- Strain the stock through a kitchen paper lined sieve to remove the smallest impurities and it is ready for making your soup.
Beef and Chestnut Soup Recipes
Many people may question the combination of beef and chestnuts but the two actually work very well together. Chestnuts are big, meaty nuts which soften upon cooking, so whether you are making a soup, a stew, or even a stir fry, beef and chestnuts complement one another very well. If Christmas automatically springs to mind when you think of chestnuts, the next time Christmas rolls around and you find yourself having, "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire," why not prepare a few extra and give one of the two following soup recipes a try?
Blended Beef and Chestnut Soup Recipe
Prep time: 2 hours 15 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 3 hours 15 min
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
- 1 small, white onion, peeled and sliced
- 2 sticks of celery, trimmed and chopped
- 1oz butter
- Salt and black pepper
- 1lb floury/starchy potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 4 pints (approximately) beef stock, as prepared above
- 1lb (approximately) cooked beef, shredded
- Parsley to garnish
- Bruschetta to serve
- Gently melt the butter in a large soup or stock pot. Add the onion and celery and stir around for a few minutes over a medium heat, just to soften slightly but not brown.
- Add the potatoes to the pot and stir before pouring in the beef stock. Bring to the gentlest of simmers, cover and leave to cook for half an hour before adding the chestnuts and turning off the heat..
- Tip: After half an hour, the soup is technically ready to be blended but putting hot liquid in to a blender or food processor can cause all sorts of problems. Blending immediately will save time but you are risking the heat and steam causing the lid to fly off your blender if you don't hold it down tightly enough and totally messing up your kitchen. Alternatively, a vacuum may be formed in the seal of your blender making it difficult to open. Recommendation is to leave the soup to cool down for a couple of hours.
- Whether hot or cooled, the soup will have to be blended in stages. Do so until smooth, pouring the blended soup in each instance in to a separate large bowl or basin.
- Pour all of the blended soup back in to the pot. Bring back to a gentle simmer, add the beef, stir well and cover for five to ten minutes to allow the beef to heat through and give you time to make the bruschetta.
- Check the soup for necessary seasoning adjustments, ladle in to serving bowls, garnish with the parsley and serve hot with the bruschetta.
Chunky Beef and Chestnut Soup Recipe
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 35 min
Ready in: 50 min
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
- 4 pints (approximately) beef stock
- 2 medium potaotes, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 medium carrots, topped, scraped and roughly chopped
- 2 medium parsnips, topped, scraped and roughly chopped
- 1lb beef (approximately), shredded
- 1/2 lb chestnuts, cooked and shelled
- Bunch of flat leafed parsley, roughly chopped
- Salt and black pepper
- Wheat, spelt and rye bread (or bread of choice) to serve
- Pour the stock in to a large pot and add the vegetables. Bring to a simmer, cover and continue to simmer for half an hour.
- Add the beef and chestnuts to the soup and bring back to a simmer for five minutes to heat them both through.
- Add the parsley and stir well. Be sure to taste for seasoning and adjust as required with salt and pepper.
- Serve with the wheat, spelt and rye bread on the side.
Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on February 28, 2014:
Thanks, clairewait. You simply can't beat homemade stock - it may be old-fashioned to many but it's still the best base for soup.
clairewait from North Carolina on February 28, 2014:
Great pictures. This looks delicious. I love that you included a blip about making your own stock - something I'm recently exploring. Voted up! https://hubpages.com/food/Beef-Bone-Broth-Why-and-...
Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on November 29, 2012:
Hi, Carol. Yes, the one drawback of making proper stock is the time it takes, that's why - as you say - it's a good idea to make it in bulk and freeze it in portions for ready use over a period of time. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
carol stanley from Arizona on November 28, 2012:
This looks really good. I see it takes a while to make the stock so I probably would make gallons to have. Thanks for sharing some good beef soup for the cold weather.