February 4th, 2015

Homemade Soup Recipes

Steak Soup

Need something to really warm you up this time of year?

A good homemade soup will do the trick!

I like to make mine with different cuts of steak. Sirloin steak is especially good and holds up well in soup. And beef tenderloin tips are the perfect size for adding bite-sized bits of goodness to your creation.

This homemade soup recipe is exactly what I need right now.

Beef and Mushroom Soup

Ingredients:

1 lb. package Beef Tenderloin Tips
2 onions, minced
4 cups fresh mushrooms, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 brandy or sherry
4 oz. dried shitake mushrooms
4 oz. dried morel mushrooms
3 cups, heavy cream
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
6 cups beef stock
salt and pepper

Servings: 8

Directions: Bring six cups of water to a boil and pour over dried mushrooms. Let stand ten minutes. Strain mushrooms, chop and reserve liquid. In a heavy bottomed stock pot, sauté Beef Tenderloin Tips in butter, remove and reserve. Add onions and sauté. Add fresh mushrooms and cook for five minutes. Add garlic and cook for three more minutes. Add flour and cook for five minutes. Deglaze pan with brandy. Add stock a little at a time and until soup becomes smooth. Add reserved mushroom liquid and reduce by half. Puree soup in a blender or with a stick blender. Add beef, cream and reconstituted mushrooms and season to taste.

This recipe uses beef tenderloin tips and just thinking about this soup makes my mouth water!

Treat yourself and your family to a tummy-warming homemade soup!


January 21st, 2015

Beef Soup Recipe

Beef and Vegetable Soup

My toes are perpetually frozen this time of year. So a hearty, beefy soup makes perfect sense right now.

I need a meal that’ll thaw me out!

This Beef and Vegetable Soup recipe uses bite-sized beef tenderloin tips made from Filet Mignon and it really does the trick.

Ingredients:                                                                
1 lb. package Beef Tenderloin Tips, minced
2 onions, minced
2 carrots, minced
3 celery stalks, minced
2 cups, diced tomatoes
1 cup barley
1/2 cup lentils
6 cups beef stock
1 tbsp. oil
salt and pepper

Directions: Sear Beef Tenderloin Tips in oil and remove from pan. Add carrot, celery and onion and sweat. Add barley and cook for three minutes. Add tomato and beef stock and bring to a simmer, cook for 30 minutes and add lentils. Continue to simmer for another 10 and add reserved beef. Cook for 10 minutes, season to taste and serve.

Servings: 8

A soup that includes bites of steak? Yes, please! This one’s a winner!


June 3rd, 2011

If It Quacks Like a Duck…It’s Not a Steak

By

Okay, that’s a Mallard, but Super Sister-in-Law Chef Sandy will be talking to us about the MAILLARD reaction today. Very different things.

Close. But not really.

Here’s what she has to share with us about creating exquisite flavor for your steaks with what is known as the Maillard reaction. Man, it’s nice to have smart people in the family . . .

What is the Maillard reaction?  Does it have anything to do with ducks?

What makes a steak mouthwateringly delicious?

Read on . . .

From Wikipedia: “The Maillard reaction (French pronunciation: meh-YAR) is a form of nonenzymatic browning similar to carmelization. It results from a chemical reaction between an amino acid and a reducting sugar, usually requiring heat. Vitally important in the preparation or presentation of many types of food, it is named after chemist Louis-Camille Maillard.”

What this means in layman’s’ terms is that the combination of high heat with amino acids creates a new flavor profile.  This reaction is accelerated by an alkaline environment.

The Maillard reaction is what produces the brown-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside pretzels available in Biergartens in Germany, or from street side vendors in the Northeast US.  This reaction is what we are looking for when we brush egg wash or milk onto pastry – the browning that will occur when the product is baked adds a tremendous dimension to the finished product, in addition to adding visual appeal.  If you ever try to make pretzels or bagels at home without adding something alkaline on the outside (the recommended method is to dip the dough in a boiling baking soda bath) you will be sadly disappointed in your resulting pastry.  You will have a crunchy, pale, bloated looking pretzel or bagel instead of the shiny brown crust covering a tender soft interior product.

Alkalinity in order of weakest-strongest:

Milk – almost acid, just slightly more alkaline than water

Eggs

Salt

Baking Soda

Lye

Pretzels, in fact, used to be made in commercial settings by dipping them in a lye bath, which I would never recommend you try at home.  I have had great pretzel-making success using the baking soda bath method – dunk the shaped pretzel dough in boiling water to which 2/3 cup of baking soda has been added.  Surprisingly, the baking soda doesn’t really impart a taste to the pretzels (thank goodness!), just allows them to brown beautifully.  The recipe I use doubles up on the Maillard effect by then brushing the pretzels with egg yolk before sprinkling with pretzel salt and baking.

So what does all of this have to do with cooking a great steak?

The Maillard reaction is that amazingly brown seared crust on a fantastically prepared steak or burger.  The nuance of flavors is something that cannot be duplicated or created with any combination of seasonings; it must be cooked into the meat.  Meat is actually acidic, so it really benefits from a little help to get a Maillard reaction when cooking meat:

  • ALWAYS dry meat before cooking –use a paper towel to blot the meat dry before you even season the beef, or blot dry anything that has been marinated
  • get your pan hot
  • season the meat with kosher salt to increase your Maillard reaction
  • use a well seasoned pan to avoid the need to add a lot of oil
  • don’t crowd the pan – this will reduce the heat in the pan and prevent that elusive crust from forming
  • let the meat cook long enough to form a crust before you disturb or turn it
  • cook in a pan rather than on a grill to get the purest meat flavor and best Maillard reaction

So there you have it! Nothing to do with ducks whatsoever. Try these tips for the Maillard reaction the next time you are sizzling a beautiful steak and it will not only be gorgeous – it’ll be incredibly flavorful too!

Photo courtesy of Animal.Discovery.com.




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