There’s something satisfying about making soup. More than just making something that costs almost nothing, it’s taking leftovers and turning them into something tasty and even nutritious. If you’ve cooked a prime rib, save the bones and any leftover meat and make Beef Vegetable Soup.
Lots of people throw out leftover bones. Not me! The Scottish girl in me won’t do it. Even if I only have a few or there’s not much meat left, I wrap them well in foil and seal in freezer bags and mark them so I know what’s in there – prime rib bones lots of meat….ham bone not much meat…..small deli chicken some meat….etc. It drives Mr. H crazy but the freezer is my department. Then I can make soup any time I want.
This is a very basic soup recipe. It’s meant to be a baseline where you can add your own flare, use as much or as little of each ingredient based on what you have, what you like and the season. Most prime ribs have only a few bones so you can freeze them and wait until you have 2 sets of leftovers or just make a smaller batch.
I like to roast the bones or sear them in the pot before I add the water to help get that depth of flavour to the broth. Roast them in the oven for 5-10 minutes in a heavy pot until you hear the meat sizzling, or sear over high heat in a dry soup pot. Then add boiling water to almost cover the bones. You don’t want to add cold water to a pot that hot, it could result in an injury to you or your cooking vessel.
Add salt, pepper and a few bay leafs, cover and simmer on the stove top for at least two hours, or better – up to three hours. Keep an eye on the liquid level, it will reduce as it simmers. Add beef broth as needed as it reduces, keeping the meat mostly covered.
After about 3 hours, remove all the meat and bones to a plate to cool. Pick as much meat off the bones as you can and shred/chop into bite sized pieces.
At this point you can cool the broth to remove the fat. This step isn’t necessary if you don’t have a lot of fat on the bones but if you do, refrigerate the broth until it’s cold. If it’s cold enough outside you can put it outdoors, otherwise put it in the fridge. If you’re short on time, put the broth in the freezer to speed up the process.
Once the fat has hardened on top, remove as much as you can. You can break the pieces off the top with a spoon and tip any broth back into the pot.
Dice celery, carrots and onion. This is called a “mirepoix” which is a fancy word for….celery, carrot and onion. This is the standard base for most soups and stews. Feel free to chop up some of the celery leaves as well. Sometimes I like to use leeks in addition to onions. Add it all to the broth along with the meat and some Worcestershire Sauce and bring to a simmer.
After about half an hour add the potatoes. When you add potatoes to any liquid, you usually need to add salt because they absorb it from the broth. Remember to taste and season periodically.
After 15 minutes add some fresh green beans. Simmer a few minutes, then add the frozen peas. Adding the green vegetables at the end helps keep their nice colour. Once the broth has returned to a simmer, the soup is done!
Here’s the recipe:
Beef Vegetable Soup Ingredients Leftover beef bones with meat Boiling water 1 carton beef broth (900 ml) 2 bay leaves 2 stalks celery 3 carrots 1 onion or onion and leek combination 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce 2 small potatoes 1 cup green beans 1 cup frozen peas salt and pepper to taste Method Sear bones in an oven safe heavy pot or dutch oven for 5-10 minutes until sizzling. Pour boiling water over to almost cover meat and bones. Add a few bay leafs, cover and simmer on the stove top for about an hour. Add half the broth and simmer for another hour, watching carefully as it reduces and adding broth as needed for up to another hour. Remove bones and meat to cool. If there is a lot of fat, refrigerate broth to allow fat to cool on top and remove. Can be left over night and finished the next day. Meanwhile, finely dice celery, carrots and onion and/or leeks. Add to broth along with Worcestershire. Simmer for 30 minutes. Peel and dice potatoes, add to pot and simmer 15 more minutes or until vegetables are fork tender. Add green beans, simmer a few minutes, then add peas, bring back to simmer, then remove from heat immediately. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper.