I have never cared for vegetable soup or for brothy, beef soup. I mean, what’s there to like about thin, barely any flavor, hot brown liquid. If I want a cup of broth, fine, but you call that a soup? No thanks.
The motivation for even trying to make a satisfying beef vegetable soup came from the diet detour we decided to take recently. We bought into a 5-day program designed to get us off our weight-loss plateau and once again sliding down the slope to slimness. The program calls for us to make a “special” chicken vegetable soup and eat it for two meals a day. More about this program in another post.
We made a batch of the chicken-veg soup and then, after three days, decided to switch to beef. A few more calories, a chance to experiment, what could go wrong? Our first batch showed us what. So I did some research and came up with what looked like a possible winner if adapted for Keto. The result is really great and will take a little more than an hour, once you have assembled the ingredients. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do! Remember that DRB is all about flavor. This beefy-vegetable soup finally gets a “10”.
Dice the beef and add to 1 gallon plastic freezer bag or bowl. Add the coconut aminos and marinate for 30 minutes to an hour.
Melt butter and olive oil in your Dutch oven, or big pot over medium heat. Add onion and mushroom and cook for 6-8 minutes, careful not to burn, but let a good dark brown fond develop. Very important to the eventual flavor. Remove mixture to a bowl to add back later.
Add the marinated beef to the pot all at once. Cook for 6-8 minutes, turning pieces once.
Add garlic and tomato paste. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add red wine and cook down until nearly gone. Drag a wooden spoon across the bottom of the pot. If the clear space it creates take 3-5 seconds to fill in, you're good to go. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
Add broths, carrots, celery, bay leaf, chili flakes, and tomatoes. Stir in well, cover pot, reduce heat to simmer. Set timer for 30 minutes.
Stir tablespoon gelatin into 1/2 cup warm water. Stir vigorously and let let for 5 minutes.
When timer goes off, add gelatin solution. Add spinach, combine and cook until it is thoroughly wilted and incorporated.
Add parsley, salt and pepper to taste. This is ready to eat, but will be better tomorrow after spending the night in the fridge.
Have learned about this from a Keto-weenie and decided to try it here as a marinade for the diced beef, instead of soy sauce. Had no ill effects and later research says cocnut aminos are another Asian import used forever as a sweetener. For us Westies, it turns out to be a relatively healthy sweeetening and seasoning agent with 17 amino acids (who knew there were that many?) and low glycemic index. Will try it in other recipes. Readily available on Amazon. http://coconutsweetener.blogspot.com/2013/01/what-is-coconut-aminos.html
Gelatin (Knox and regular beef gelatin)
So, gelatin has many uses, it would appear. ATK uses it in many recipes as a thickener. Becareful with it. Too little and not enough thickening. Too much, you get slime. But it worked great in this recipe. Based on a Keto soups and stews cookbook we had lying around, I bought a bag of "Beef Gelatin" from Amazon, but hadn't used it before running out of Knox and deciding "What the heck, this may work." In both attempts, I used the prescribed 1 T of gelatin disolved for five minutes in tepid water. Dumped it in the pot as one of the finishing steps, stirred well, and discovered that the thickening seemed to increase overnight in the fridge and then again the next night.
Turns out that Knox is just finely ground beef gelatin. (Presumably Jell-o is made the same way, but not sure.) Gelatin, it seems by definition, is made from animal collagen (bones and other leftovers), and therefore is not vegan. Just saying.