It seems that fall has come to Chicago while we were playing in Denver with my brother and sister-in-law last week. The roaring winds have arrived, to knock the leaves from the trees, and waves crash upon the beach to lull us to sleep.
While I love fall, and all of the wonderful harvest vegetables – after a sunny, warm week in Colorado, it all feels like a bit of a shock. I came home from my first day back at the office chilled to the bone from a cold bike ride, and sorted through the bits and bobs in the crisper to pull together the first soup of the season. Lucky for me, I had everything I needed on hand for the perfect pot of beef vegetable soup.
But just to remember the beautiful days in Denver, here are a few photos from our day hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Mike & Lisa took us to the top of the mountains – above 12,000ft – and we went from 80 degree temperatures at their house to 45 degrees and hiking up a slope in the snow to stand in some fierce winds on top of the mountain. It was awesome. Next time I’ll forgo the sandals for proper footgear for a walk in the snow, though!
After a chilly stroll in the heights of the mountains, we came back down to a quiet valley and took a walk, just as the sun was crossing the mountains, providing that perfect late afternoon golden light. On our way back from this hike we saw a couple of elk grazing, and later spotted many more on our drive out of the park.
It was a perfect vacation, and I may have to hold onto the memories of our sun-filled days in Colorado to make it through the long Chicago winter ahead. In the meantime, there is soup. A hearty vegetable soup can comfort and thaw chilled bones in a few spoonfuls.
Beef Vegetable Soup
220 calories per serving, 70cal from fat, 8.3g fat, 35g carbs, 20mg cholesterol, 720mg potassium, 700mg sodium, 4g fiber, 10g sugar, 14.9g protein
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 stalks celery, diced
1 quart stewed tomatoes
2.5 cups chicken stock
2.5 cups water
3 cloves garlic
1 beef soup bone, about 1lb
1 cup fresh corn (from about two ears)
2 cups diced red new potatoes (about 4-5 small potatoes)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T dried basil
1 T minced fresh rosemary
1 T dried oregano
red pepper flakes to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving, optional.
- Put 1 tablespoon oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. When hot, add onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring, until onion softens, about 10 minutes or so.
- Add dried and fresh herbs and garlic. Cook, stirring, for a minute or two, then add the potatoes, chicken stock, water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so mixture bubbles gently. Cook, stirring every now and then, until potatoes are tender – about 45 minutes. Add the sweet corn, and cook for another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding salt, pepper and additional red pepper flakes if desired.
- Use tongs to remove the soup bone from the pot and set aside to cool for a couple minutes. Then, trim off any remaining fat, and remove the meat from the bone, shredding it into bite-sized pieces. Add the beef back to the pot, and serve with a bit of grated parmesan over each bowl.