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Archive for March, 2006

St. Patrick’s Day Soup

Faith and begorrah! It’s St. Patrick’s Day and the idea of boiling up a giant stock pot full of corned beef and cabbage makes you blanch! Maybe you don’t really like corned beef and cabbage but you feel the need to go with the flow. Your family insists on being festive but changes their minds when faced with the reality of a pot full of floating fat blobs. That leaves you – the under-appreciated cook – to consume the whole pot by yourself. What to do?

Here is the answer: Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup. The same traditional ingredients, the same great taste, but shortened cook and prep time, less greasy, more economical and has an easily adjustable yield.

 

CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE SOUP

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saute pan. Cut one large onion into a small dice and saute over medium heat until tender. Add 1/2 head a medium-sized green cabbage which has been shredded and turn in pan to coat. Add salt and pepper and let this heat for 2 minutes.

2. Transfer to stock pot and add 6-8 cups of chicken broth. Dice 3 large potatoes into 1/2" dice and slice 5 baby carrots into coins, then add both to the pot.

3. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
4. Cut 1/2 pound of lean corned beef from the deli counter into julienne strips and add to soup pot to heat through.

5. In a saucepan, make a roux by melting 2 tablespoons of butter, then stirring in 2 tablespoons of flour to make a paste. Cook, stirring constantly, for one minute. Add one cup of hot soup stock from the pot and blend. Cook to boiling while continuously stirring – mixture will thicken.  Remove from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of brown mustard and one tablespoon of white horseradish.

6. Add 1/4 cup of the horseradish sauce to the stock pot and mix thoroughly. Taste and add more, up to 1/2 cup.

Ladle the soup into bowls for individual serving and place a tablespoon of the horseradish sauce in the center. Serve with rye bread.

The Soup Lady likes a lot of the horseradish sauce, but that’s just me. Taste this soup before you add the horseradish sauce – it might be enough flavor for you. Not for me, begorrah, but maybe for you. For those faint of heart, omit the mustard and horseradish and use salt and pepper to taste. Only use this version to add to the stock pot, it won’t add much to the experience by dolloping into the serving bowls.

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For those of you who go ahead and make the real deal and find that you have a lot of your own corned beef left over, along with soggy cabbage wedges and overcooked potatoes, please be my guest and transform it into an appealing soup:

  • First get rid of all the pot liquor, save one cup. The broth the stuff was cooked in is just too greasy to contemplate. Replace all that liquid with chicken broth, plus the one cup of cooking liquid. Strain the cooking liquid if there are floaters in it. In fact, just strain it anyway.
  • Drain the vegetables as well as you can. They will be sodden and hard to hold onto, but do your best to chop them into soup-spoon sized pieces.
  • Remove as much of the fat from the meat  as you can. This is essential. No fat globs are to be found in the soup bowl at all. While a little fat from the broth will add flavor and body to the stock, no visible fat globs can be tolerated in the bowl.
  • Shred the meat and return it to the pot, along with the chopped vegetables.
  • Heat through.
  • If you’ve spent your St. Patrick’s Day without the horseradish sauce, make it now. You won’t be sorry.

 

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