Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Warm Comfort Soup for a Chilly Evening

I know, I know...spring starts Monday.  But that does not mean that the weather has to cooperate.  It's been upper thirties and raining around here for the past 3 days.  I don't mean drizzle...I mean rain.  Only folks who live in the pacific northwest can really differentiate between drizzle, showers, showers at times and rain.  Rain is a large amount of water falling from the sky for hours and hours on end.  Rain cancels baseball practice (yah!).   It soaks through two sweatshirts and a coat in the distance between the car and your son's kindergarten classroom.  And if you take a very long walk through a University of Washington parking lot on your way to watch the Dawgs play in the first round of the NIT (NOT the NCAA tourney) you will  be so wet it looks like you stepped directly out of the shower in your clothes and coat.  It is the reason I don't do my hair for days on end.  What's the point?
And it's a also a great reason to curl up under a blanket and read to your kids.  The Shining Sword is our current addiction.  I love it.  While your kids are occupied with books, you can make some of this delicious soup for supper.

My camera was dead for the first few steps, thus no pictures.  First of all you are going to melt half a cup of butter in the largest stock pot you have.  Add 3/4 C of flour and mix well.  Next, pour in 3 quarts of water--yep, you read that correctly--now you know why you need your largest stock pot.  Dump in 1/2 C of beef stock granules and give it all a good stir.  Turn the heat to medium and let the potion brew.

 While that mess is warming up, chop up 1 C each of celery, carrots and onions.  I usually do extra of all the vegetables.  I do not add extra water, flour or beef stock, just lots of extra veggies.  It's a great way to have even more soup for the freezer in a healthier manner. 

 The soup calls for one package of frozen egg noodles.  If you have a package of frozen egg noodles, you can use them.  If you don't--don't panic.  Egg noodles are easy to make.  Do a google search and choose your favorite one.  They only require eggs, salt (don't omit, I've tried it), flour and water.  One recipe of the dough makes more than enough.  I usually mix up the dough, use half of it for one large batch of soup and freeze the other half for some other day.  Once your brew is boiling you'll want to add your egg noodles.  They take a good 15-20 minutes of hard rolling boil time. Don't cover the pot to make them boil faster and then forget about them.  I ruined my mother's stove that way.  Halfway through the noodle cooking time, add your fresh veggies.  They will also take a while to get tender. 

 While your noodles and veggies are boiling, brown up 3/4-1 pound of lean ground beef.  After it's browned and drained, toss it in the pot with the rest.

Finally, you add the frozen mixed vegetables.  The recipe calls for 10 oz of frozen veggies.  I buy the large package--I think it's around 32 ounces.  And I add it all.  
 Add 1 pound (or so) of stewed tomatoes.  You can skip them if you'd rather, but I really like what they add to the soup.  They bring some Vitamin C to the party.  And some great flavor and color as well.  While your soup is mixing and spilling its flavor into the broth you'll want to figure out what you'll serve with it. 

 Around these parts I either open a quart of canned peaches or grab a quart size bag of frozen apple sauce.  With all those veggies in the soup, salad just feels redundant.  We also like some sort of bread with our soup.  Rolls, french bread, biscuits, toast.  This particular night I went with "Giant Sweet Cheddar Biscuits"--a recipe from one of my favorite cook books A Passion For Baking.  I had never tried these before--but I really liked them.  Even with a lot of cheddar cheese they still tasted good with honey.  They happen made delicious bacon and cheese breakfast sandwiches the next morning.

 Having helpers on hand to mix biscuit dough is always a plus.

 This recipe makes enough for our family to have dinner plus two nights worth of dinner in the freezer.  And we tend to eat a lot.  But I do basically double all of the veggie ingredients.  I simply store the left overs in gallon freezer bags.  Then the next two times we want this soup it's as easy as getting it out in time to thaw, tossing it in the crock pot before going to baseball practice, basketball practice or gymnastics class and then coming home to dinner.  When I was a child my mom would make this soup.  We would often take a canning jar full of it to my Great Grandfather and his 2nd wife, Helen.  Helen loved the soup.  She would exclaim about how "luscious" it was.  We loved to hear her say that.  Grandpa and Helen always had pink peppermint lozenges for us to eat.  I know most people think they are nasty and associate them with pocket lint, but to this day I love them.  Only the pink ones.  We lived close to my Great Grandfather for about two years and it was very special to be able to visit him and get to know him.  He had perfect eye sight and hearing into his 90's.  About the time they started to fade my brother Brett was born.  He would ask "what's his name again, Brat?"  Hehe.  And he called me "Brooks".  Always.  I find that most men over 80 do that. 
 There are two of those reading children mentioned at the beginning of the post.  Ezra is reading to Nora for the first time.  I tried not to cry and snapped a picture. 
Tomorrow it is supposed to rain harder than it is raining today.  I do not know how that is possible--but that doesn't mean it won't happen.

Klinkerdagger Soup
1 C butter
3/4 C flour
1/2 C beef stock base--granules
3 quarts water
1 C each chopped--celery/carrots/onion
10 oz frozen veggies (I recommend much more)
1 pound stewed tomatoes
3/4-1 pound browned ground beef
One package OR 1/2 recipe frozen egg noodles

Melt  butter and add flour.  Mix well.  Add water and beef granules; stir.  Bring to a rolling boil and add egg noodles.  Cook noodles until they are firm and floating--about 15-20 minutes. Add fresh veggies.  Boil another 10 minutes or so.  Add ground beef, frozen veggies and stewed tomatoes .  Cook until warm--about 20 minutes.


The Chatty Housewife said...

Looks yummy!

Anonymous said...

awww cute that E is reading to N!!!!!!!!! and I want one of those biscuits like NOW...ahhh yummmmm!!!!! comin from the girl who thinks red lobsters biscuits are a little bit of heaven on earth :) :) ~Cath p.s. this blog works on IE again...

Megan Miller said...

It looks scrumpshi-dilly-oshes. I realized the other day that I haven't been making nearly the same amount of soups/stews that I normally do. Must change that before the season has passed. We are hoping that rain cancels baseball tomorrow. Round here all we need is a light drizzle to make that happen!

whit's end mom said...

Klinkerdagger??? Is there a story behind the name? The soup looks delicious, and not as dangerous as the name conveys.

NaomiG said...

That soup looks divine! As does the biscuits. I have a family favorite biscuit recipe... I should try these ones too, or maybe add cheddar to a few of mine sometime. :-)

LOVE Ezra reading to Nora. That is so precious. And, that means you can go get something done too, right. Woohoo!