Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Clean Beef & Rice Soup

I'm going strong on my quest to eat clean. It's been a little over a week and I've eaten ZERO processed foods... that's right ZERO. I thought that it would be difficult to avoid prepackaged foods, but after my initial cravings passed (this was a slightly tumultuous time), I'm really happy to be eating uber healthy. Sticking to Paleo for breakfast and lunch and that's working well, but more on that later. (That sort of felt like when Johnny kept telling Baby they would practice the lift later.... Dirty Dancing anyone?)

Anyway, here is a delicious recipe for a clean Beef & Rice Soup. Its kind of like a stew, but more broth-like than gravy-like, so I call it soup. Feel free to call it whatever you'd like. It's clean because it's made with natural, organic ingredients. When you buy beef broth if you're not keen on making your own - I'm certainly not - be sure to read the ingredients. Just because the front says it's organic, that doesn't mean that you won't find preservatives. Just check until you find a brand that's not a LLPOF (liar, liar, pants on fire).

One more thing, this soup/stew is great the very minute it's finished, but if you really want it to knock your socks off, make it a day ahead and just reheat. It's one of those dishes that gets way better the second day. I think it's because a chilly night spent tucked away in the fridge makes the soup more appreciative of it's warm and steamy natural state, and therefore makes sure to perform at its very best to avoid another frigid night... but that's just me.

Clean Beef & Rice Soup
Serves 4

1 lb. organic sirloin, cubed
1 tbsp. canola oil
2 organic carrots, cut on a bias
3 organic celery stalks, chopped
1 organic medium yellow onion, chopped
2 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
4 oz. mushrooms (with stems), sliced thin
1/4 cup red wine
2 cups organic beef broth
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cups organic brown rice
1 organic tomato, chopped
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce

1. In a heavy-bottomed pot (cast iron is best in my opinion), heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Let it get good and hot. Season sirloin with salt and pepper and add to oil. Make sure to keep the oil hot. You are looking for a really nice brown on the outside of the meat. If the temp drops too low, you will end up losing all the moisture from the meat and it will pretty much boil - not what we're looking for. Once you have a nice sear, flip the meat and sear the other side. Once brown, remove meat and put to the side. Feel free to work in batches. If you overcrowd the pot, you will likely bring the temp too low to get a good sear.

2. Once meat is set aside, turn the heat down slightly to about medium. Add carrots, celery and onion. You want to get a little color on these, but mostly start to soften them up. Saute for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add thyme and sage and saute until fragrant. Add worcestershire and red wine to deglaze the pan (scrape up all the brown bits with a wooden spoon, that's flavor my friends).

3. Add broth, water and tomato. Bring to a low boil and reduce to a simmer over low heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add brown rice. Stir, cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes until rice is cooked, but still firm. You don't want mush.

4. Once rice is cooked, add the vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Add a little at a time, taste and adjust as necessary. Right before you are going to serve, toss in the mushrooms. 


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