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Make Ahead Monday: Slow-Cooker Beef Vegetable Soup

Happy Monday, y’all!  It’s a short week for those of us in the United States; Thanksgiving is Thursday.  Most people will take off work on Friday as well (our business will be closed that day) so that those of us who are inclined can do a little stress-free shopping on Friday. 😛  My Turkey Day menu is finally planned – more on that tomorrow and Wednesday – but first, it is Make Ahead Monday!

Sorry, I’m still working on the “cut and paste code” thing.  Hopefully I’ll have time to figure it out this weekend, since I don’t go for that stress-free shopping on Friday.

Anyhoo, I’m still in love with my Cuisinart slow cooker and am having a wonderful time finding things to throw in and walk away from.  Last week it was soup bones from our most recent side of grass-fed beef, a cut that I mistakenly thought came from the neck of the steer.  While I was making the soup, Beloved said he didn’t think that could be right, and he was correct – the cut is from the shin of the animal.  I didn’t think to take a picture of the cut of meat, but found one online:

Beef Soup Bones

These cuts of meat run between one and two pounds each and are perfect for long braising, making them perfect for a hearty stew, or in this case, soup.  Because these aren’t prime cuts, they are also pretty inexpensive, but that also means you might have to ask for them from the butcher at your store.

Made entirely in the slow cooker, this recipe simply could not be easier and it is just delicious.  I used seasonal root vegetables for this along with a little of the sweet corn we canned this summer (which you can always leave out if you wish), but you can use any combination of vegetables you wish – potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, peas, green beans, cabbage, etc.

One small caveat: the recipe requires adding the vegetables halfway through the cooking time, to avoid turning them into an unappetizing mush.  Since we come home for lunch every day, I did this step then.  However, I realize this isn’t practical for everyone.  The soup refrigerates quite well – it is, in fact, one of those dishes that is better the next day – so it might be a good idea to make this on a Saturday or Sunday and refrigerate it, saving it to be easily reheated on a busy Monday evening.

Oh, and Gretchen?  The servings are huge. 😛

Slow-Cooker Beef Vegetable Soup

Slow-Cooker Beef Vegetable Soup

6 generous servings

2 large soup bones, with meat
1 quart water
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 cup parsnips, peeled and cut into large pieces
1 cup turnips, peeled and cut into large pieces
1 cup sweet corn kernels (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place the soup bones and onion in a 3-quart slow cooker; sprinkle with the thyme and basil and pour in the water.  Cover and set the temperature to low and the time for 10 hours.

After 5 hours, add the carrots, parsnips, carrots and corn to the soup, re-cover and continue cooking until the 10 hours is up. Once the cooking is complete, remove the bones and meat. Chop the meat into bite-size pieces and return to the soup; taste and season with salt and pepper as needed, and serve.

Nutrition (per serving): 332 calories, 15.3g total fat, 66.5mg cholesterol, 193.8mg sodium, 842.7mg potassium, 15.1g carbohydrates, 3.4g fiber, 4.7g sugar, 32.8g protein.

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