Topic: Harvest Hills Farm activity
Once upon a wintery Autumn...
Unseasonably early, bitter, winter-style weather has hit most of the country. Jo Daviess County is no exception. Many autumnal plans and expectations have gone undone. We're feeding hay to the sheep, cattle and horses since the grass is frozen and under a snow cover. We might get a reprieve in the next week or two but, for the most part, Autumn is gone for the year.
The kale froze, I hoped for fresh kale from the garden for Thanksgiving, as well as other greens—that would have been a plan in the usual year. Thankfully, all the winter squash and pumpkins were pulled in before the deep freezing began. And I potted up a couple of Rosemary plants to keep going indoors for fresh cuttings, one of the few herbs that don't work as well when dried.
I'm happy that I chose to prep and freeze so many peppers when they were abundant. And that my sister decided one Summer afternoon to pick and prep, bread and fry, then freeze, some of our eggplant to make a future “eggplant parmesan,” with our homemade canned marinara sauce, along with some dried herbs from the garden.
We have two types of “refrigerator pickles” in the refrigerator from a couple of Summer afternoon quick and fun projects. Apple filling was made from our apples and frozen during one of those late Summer afternoons, too! Thinking about all of the food projects we accomplished during the Summer, you might think we anticipated this weather!
Now, this dismal, chilling weather calls for cooking. And a homey, humble --but protein- and vitamin-packed-- soup should be on the stove.
Why not plan a pot of Beef and Vegetable Soup that's quick and hearty?
Beef and Vegetable Soup
1 lb. Chuck, cut into bite sized pieces
(I had a 3 lb chuck pot roast, used 1 lb for the soup and rest as a pot roast)
Saute in 1-2 Tbsp olive oil with ½ tsp chopped garlic until browned.
Add: 1 large stalk celery, diced
3 medium carrots, sliced
1 cup deveined and chopped kale leaves
28 oz. can petite diced tomatoes and the juice
(you can also substitute a 14.5 oz. can of tomatoes and 16 oz. beef broth, if you prefer)
1 quart of water
1 tsp. each: salt, onion powder, dried basil (or Italian blend herbs), dried parsley, dried thyme
Several grinds of black pepper
Add: 1 bay leaf, but remember to remove from soup before serving.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to low simmer and cover. Simmer at least an hour until meat and vegetables are tender. Add additional water as needed. Adjust seasonings as desired.