Saturday, March 26, 2011

Beef Vegetable Soup

I'm not one to like vegetable soups.  Soggy veggies just don't do it for me.  I tolerate Chili soup because it's mostly beans and I like my Baked Potato Soup because it's mostly potatoes and dairy with bacon.  But chunky wet vegetables.... no way.

My Farmer does like vegetable soups and I want him to have the best food possible, which meant I needed to find a recipe for "Homemade" Vegetable Soup.  Cook's Illustrated to the rescue again!

Please.... this is their recipe.  I'll put my variation here but don't steal this.  Give credit where it's due, please.

(Kay's variation:  I use leftover cooked beef whenever possible.  Usually roast or short ribs.  I start with sauteing the onions and mushrooms.  Put into a bowl.  Add the garlic and tomato paste to the pot and let it coat the bottom -- Don't Burn It!!  Add in the beef pieces and let heat for a few moments [you may have to reduce the heat or take the pot off the burner, you don't want the fond to burn!]  When the beef is  warmed, deglaze the pan with the red wine.  Add the beef broth and chicken broth.  Return to burner or turn the heat back up.  I then finely minced the mushroom/onion mixture in my Mini Chopper because there is NO WAY my Farmer is eating mushrooms [if he knows they are in there!]  I do this in 2 batches.  Add minced mixture to the soup.  Add the carrots and bay leaf and continue according to the directions....EXCEPT!.... I do not bother with the gelatin mess.  And I add 2 cups of 1/2" diced potatoes the last 15 mins of cooking [or until they are tender.]  Basic Beefy-Veggie goodness without all the weird cooked tomato/greenbean/pea mess.  Happy Cooking!)

Beef Vegetable Soup

Serves 6.   Published September 1, 2007.  


For beef and vegetable soup recipe in just an hour, we turned to quick-cooking sirloin tip steak and doctored store-bought broth with mushrooms, tomato paste, soy sauce, and red wine. One final touch perfected our quick beef and vegetable soup...(more)
Choose whole sirloin tip steaks over ones that have been cut into small pieces for stir-fries. If sirloin tip steaks are unavailable, substitute blade or flank steak, removing any hard gristle or excess fat. Button mushrooms can be used in place of the cremini mushrooms, with some trade-off in flavor. Our preferred brand of beef broth is Pacific. If you like, add 1 cup of frozen peas, frozen corn, or frozen cut green beans during the last 5 minutes of cooking. For a heartier soup, add 10 ounces of red-skinned potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups), during the last 15 minutes of cooking.


  • 1pound sirloin tip steaks , trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (see note above)
  • 2tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1pound cremini mushrooms , stems trimmed, caps wiped clean and quartered
  • 1large onion , chopped medium (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1medium garlic clove , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/2cup red wine
  • 4cups beef broth (see note above)
  • 1 3/4cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4medium carrots , peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 2medium ribs celery , cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1bay leaf
  • 1tablespoon unflavored gelatin (powdered)
  • 1/2cup cold water
  • 2tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves


  1. 1. Combine beef and soy sauce in medium bowl; set aside for 15 minutes.
  2. 2. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add mushrooms and onion; cook, stirring frequently, until onion pieces are brown and dark bits form on pan bottom, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer vegetables to bowl.
  3. 3. Add beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid evaporates and meat starts to brown, 6 to 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and garlic; cook, stirring constantly, until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add red wine, scraping bottom of pot with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits, and cook until syrupy, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. 4. Add beef broth, chicken broth, carrots, celery, bay leaf, and browned mushrooms and onion; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until vegetables and meat are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. While soup is simmering, sprinkle gelatin over cold water and let stand.
  5. 5. When soup is finished, turn off heat. Remove bay leaf. Add gelatin mixture and stir until completely dissolved. Stir in parsley; adjust seasonings with salt and pepper, and serve.


A Tale of Two Meats
We tested nearly a dozen cuts of beef before settling on sirloin tip steaks as the best choice for our quick soup. Texture was a deciding factor.

Too Dense: Tender cuts such as strip steak and rib eye become tough, livery, and chalky when simmered in soup.

Loose and Tender: Cuts with a loose structure, such as sirloin tip steaks, give the impression that the meat has cooked for hours.


Building Meaty Flavor Quickly
These four glutamate-rich ingredients boosted meaty flavors in our quick soup.
Red Wine: Red wine helps loosen flavorful browned bits from the pan bottom.
Tomato Paste: Thick tomato paste caramelizes in the pot to create more flavor.
Mushrooms: Sautéed cremini mushrooms begin to build flavor.
Soy Sauce: Strips of beef are marinated in soy sauce before being browned.


The Flavor Base Begins

Before the beef is added to the pot, create a flavor base by browning chopped onions and cremini mushrooms. Stir frequently until the onions are really brown and dark bits form on the pan bottom. Don't shortcut this process or you will rob your soup of flavor.
America's Test Kitchen
America’s Test Kitchen is a 2,500-square-foot kitchen located just outside of Boston. It is the home of Cook’s Country and Cook’s Illustrated magazines and is the workday destination for more than three dozen test cooks, editors, and cookware specialists. Our mission is to test recipes until we understand how and why they work and arrive at the best version. We also test kitchen equipment and supermarket ingredients in search of brands that offer the best value and performance. You can watch us work by tuning in to America’s Test Kitchen ( on public television.

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