Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Old Fashioned Beef and Noodle Soup

As most of you know, I struggle in the kitchen to make anything edible. That has recently changed (SQUEE!!!!), as evidenced by the picture above. Justin is very, very happy right now!

I'm definitely a beginner and still learning (and yes, I've had some remarkably awful dishes that resulted in pizza ordering), but I have recently had a boatload of help from a book that Justin bought me called "America's Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution." Justin watches American Test Kitchen every week on the Food Network and I sometimes have one ear tuned if they are making something I particularly like. But I don't really care for cooking shows (probably because I've been so spectacularly bad at it) and usually the people who are chefs just have these awful, droning voices that remind me of those sports announcers that make me hate televised sports.


This soup is the second recipe I've made out of the book and's not me! It's been the recipes or something, because I made sausage lasagna in my crock pot from a recipe from this book (yes, lasagna!) that was absolutely awesome. And I don't care for lasagna.

I didn't think to take lasagna pictures, but I was smart enough to snap the above picture of the beef noodle soup last night right after I took my first bite and realized that oh my freaking God! I can cook!!!!

So, in the interest of sharing this marvelous discovery, I will share the recipe (with a couple of very minor revisions) for the soup here. I don't want to post up all of their recipes, because you really should buy the book - it's available here for less than $18. Just an FYI - my crock pot cooks really fast, so I shaved time off of this recipe. It calls for you to cook it from 9 to 11 hours on "low" and I only cooked it for about 7 1/2 hours. Also, I used stew beef instead of the blade steak and, because of that, I didn't have to remove the beef from the pot at the end, since it was already in bite sized pieces. This might also have contributed to the faster cooking time. Plan on about an hour chopping time for the vegetables.

Old-Fashioned Beef and Noodle Soup

2 onions, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I used virgin olive oil - it's healthier)
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried (I found fresh in the produce section)
6 cups beef broth (I used 6 cups water and 6 boullion cubes and made the broth on the stove)
1 pound cremini mushrooms trimmed and sliced 1/2 inch thick (I used fresh sliced mushrooms from the produce section)
3 carrots, peeled and chopped medium (I used baby carrots, about 18 of them)
2 celery ribs, chopped medium
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 pounds beef blade steak, trimmed (I used 1 pound stew beef and cut it into bite size pieces before putting into crock pot)
Salt and pepper
3 ounces wide egg noodles (about 2 cups) - (I used the small curly egg noodles, one half of an eight ounce bag)
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (I forgot this and we didn't miss it)

1. Microwave onions, garlic, tomato paste, oil, and thyme in bowl, stirring occasionally until onions are softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to slow cooker. (I didn't stir them and they were fine.)

2. Stir broth, mushrooms, carrots, celery, soy sauce, and bay leaves into slow cooker. Season beef with salt and pepper and nestle into slow cooker. Cover and cook until beef is tender, 9 to 11 hours on low or 5 to 7 hours on high.

3. Transfer beef to cutting board, let cool slightly, then shred into bite-size pieces. Let soup settle for 5 minutes, then remove fat from surface using large spoon. Discard bay leaves.

4. Cook egg noodles in boiling salted water until tender, then drain. Stir cooked noodles and shredded beef into soup and let sit until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

I promise you will not be disappointed in this recipe. These people spent a year with 30 slow cookers going constantly, refining the recipes and adding lots of flavor so that the meat and vegetables don't come out mushy and tasting like you boiled them.

If you make this and it's a success, please let me know. I will definitely be making it again. Jamie even liked it and that's saying something!

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