Mum’s Chunky Beef & Veg Soup
Growing up, this warming soup was one of our absolute staples and comes straight from Mum’s Czech heritage.
It’s chunky, homestyle, gut-loving comfort food at it’s best and winter just wouldn’t be complete without it. Let me know what you think!
1 fresh cow’s tongue or approx. 4 large pieces of braising steak or osso buco (see Tips)
2 large beef bones
1L good quality vegetable or chicken stock
2 bay leaves
2 carrots, roughly chopped
3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
2 parsnips, roughly chopped
1 turnip, roughly chopped (optional)
½ – 1 cup of small pasta (e.g. rissoni or spaghetti broken into pieces – see Tips)
salt and pepper, to season
fresh chopped parsley, to serve
Wash the meat (no need to chop) and bones and place in a large casserole pot. Pour in the stock and top up with water to about three-quarters full.
Add the bay leaves and veggies and a crack of salt and pepper to season (remember, the stock may be quite salty so go slow at first). Bring to the boil, allowing the soup to gather some foam at the top. Then cover and simmer for about 1½ hours or until the meat is nice and tender. If you are using cows tongue, once cooked, carefully remove it from the pot and place in cold water. Allow to cool, then peel, discarding the skin, before cutting up the meat and adding it back to the pot.
Remove the beef bones and discard, then tear the tender meat into smaller pieces and return it to the pot. Add the pasta to cook in the soup or you can boil it separately and add to each bowl when serving. Season to taste, then sprinkle with parsley before serving.
Now, I realise offal isn’t what many of us go for, but using cow’s tongue in this recipe is such a great option. You might have heard of the phrase “nose to tail” eating. This is what many tribes and cultures have done for centuries: eaten the entire animal. And for good reason. Offal, or more so organ meat, is a nutritional powerhouse loaded with vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other compounds vital to your health. They are also generally the cheapest cuts available from your butcher and, if done well, you wouldn’t even notice it’s not the cut of meat you are used to. Give it a try!
If you follow a gluten-free diet like me, select a gluten-free pasta of choice for use in this recipe or leave the pasta out altogether. My mum hasn’t used any pasta when making it for me for years for that very reason.