It was cold today.  And wet.  One of my favorite weather combinations.  I like cold, wet, and windy, too.  That icy wind that penetrates right to the marrow, no matter how many layers one is wearing.  Ah, yes.  My kind of weather.

Actually, I think weather like that really is just fine – provided I don’t have to go out in it, there’s a roaring fire in the fireplace, plenty of oil in the tank, and a nice soup or stew on the stove.

The weather wasn’t really that bad, today, but it was the first really cold day we’ve had – a perfect excuse for a pot of simmering something on the stove.

I had taken some stew beef out of the freezer this morning, but I really wasn’t sure until I got home whether it was to be stew or soup.

Soup won.

Ingredient-wise, I could do either, but a thin-broth beef and bean soup was really calling my name.  I had made a sausage and bean soup at work for the crew today which whetted my appetite, so to speak.

As one of six kids, I was raised on soups, and like my mother, I find cooking them to be a natural.  Unless I’m making a very specific soup recipe – like a Mulligatawny or something – I don’t go to the store to buy ingredients to make a soup; I open the cupboards and refrigerator to see what I can throw into the pot.  9 times out of 10 they’re clean-out-the-refrigerator concoctions, using up stray bits of this and that.

The local grocery store had canned beans on sale several months ago and over the course of a couple of shopping trips, I probably bought a dozen assorted cans or more. There were 6 left in the cupboard this afternoon and I’ve been on a kick to use up what’s in the house before going out and bringing in more.  Now there are only 2 – I can almost justify that trip to the new Wegmans this coming Monday!

Beef and Bean Soup

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound stew beef
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 4 cans assorted beans, drained and rinsed (I used canellini, garbanzo, black, and pinto)
  • 1 tsp French herbs
  • salt and pepper

Wilt onion, celery, and garlic in a  bit of olive oil.  Add beef and brown.

Add red wine and cook to reduce by about half.

Add remaining ingredients and bring to boil, then simmer, covered,  about an hour or so.

Taste for seasoning and serve with a crusty bread.

Speaking of Wegmans, the cupboards are getting a bit bare around here since we were in DC and I didn’t do my normal weekly shopping …  We’ve received LOTS of circulars, coupon books – all sorts of freebie-goodie-come-ons to get us into the new Collegeville store that opened last Sunday.

The goal is to spend a couple of hours walking the aisles, resisting all of the things I flat-out don’t need, and make it out of the store under $200.00.

I can do it.

I am a professional.

(Famous last words?!?  I’ll let ya know Monday afternoon!)