Monday, May 3, 2010

Leek & Beef Soup

Otherwise known as Mock Oxtail Soup. Oh heck! Let's just shorten it to Moxtail Soup!

This recipe is kind of a cross betwixt a traditional UK oxtail soup, a Scottish Cock-A-Leekie soup, and a Sri Lankan mulligatawny soup.

Given all that, it is SSSSOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOD!

And you don't knead an oxtail either. But you do need a leek. And some ground (minced) meat. I used beef this time but I've also made it with ground kangaroo, ground moose, ground lamb, and ground caribou.

It's very easy, few ingredients, but it does take some time for the flavours to develop. There are also many additions to this, I'll mention a few at the end of the post, no worries.

What you need:
500 grams beef mince (ground beef)
1 fresh leek
water (H2O)
1 can of roma tomatoes (diced, whole, whatever; as long as the ingredients are: Tomatoes, water, salt)
2 or 3 glasses of red wine --I usually use shiraz for this
1 to 4 tbsp vindaloo paste (not vindaloo sauce, but the REAL stuff)
sea salt
ground white pepper

What you do:
Slice the leek into 1 cm disks. Put the disks into a colander and rinse them well. If you've never used a leek before then you may like to know that dirt can hide in the darnedest nooks and crannies of the leek --so rinse the disks well.

Lightly cook the meat in the pot you intend to make the soup. As soon as the meat is JUST barely cooked through then remove the meat from the pot so as to leave all the wonderful juices behind. Set the meat aside.

Add the leek disks to the meat juices along with 1 litre of water. Simmer till the liquid is reduced by half. Add a half litre of water (or so) plus 2 or 3 glasses of red wine. Simmer for a few mins to bring it back up to temp.

Toss in the can of tomatoes --oh, make sure you OPEN the can first and only add the CONTENTS of the can. This is a good time to add the cooked meat too. A sprinkle of sea salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper should be added now.

Give it a taste. Rather bland, eh? Now add the vindaloo paste a tbsp (or tsp if you are a wuss) at a time. Stir well after each addition and give a taste test. Once you've got the spiciness up to where you want it then (obviously) stop adding the vindaloo paste.

Turn the heat off. Cover and let stand for the afternoon. Crank the heat up before serving so it's close to piping hot. A good hunk of crusty, homemade, buttered, bread goes great with this.

What else can be done with this soup? Well, pretty much any red, ground meat can be used, game or not. Yes, that includes emu and ostrich. Use the ground (minced) meat as you would the minced (ground) beef.

Celery and/or cabbage make nice flavour additions. For the cabbage, shred it as thinly as possible and add it at the same time as the leek. I'd add the celery (very thinly sliced) a little bit through the simmering though. Carrots are a nice addition too. The softness of the carrots depends upon when you add them to the simmering leeks, your call.

For a slightly different flavour you can sear the leek (and whatever veggies you are using) in the pot first with some butter or olive oil along with a sprinkle of sea salt. Deglaze with the meat juices and a bit of red wine and then continue on with the recipe.

Anyways, loads of variations and loads of flavours can be yours just from this one simple soup.


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