I thought my first post of the year would be a cold winter salad…hah!  Today it is below zero in Chicago and with our famous “wind” the chill factor makes it feel like Siberia (or at least what I think Siberia might feel like).  Chicago’s sometimes jokingly called, “Chiberia”.   We have been duly warned not even to go outside unless we have to,  and salad is not what’s on my mind, something warm and hugging is.  I want dinner to wrap me like a toasty blanket, sooth me like crackling fire and make me smile like an old movie…I want soup!  Not just any soup either, I want gutsy old fashioned taste…I want my Aunt Mary’s vegetable beef noodle soup!

I know that there are lots of soup recipes out there.  What makes this one different is the cabbage…that’s right, cabbage.  Maybe it comes from our roots in a city known for its German heritage (Cincinnati) but cabbage is the ingredient that takes this soup from the ordinary to a more flavorful, richer level.

Parched air comes alive with the moisture of soup cooking all day on the back burner, making the static atmosphere feel and smell heavenly.  I cook this soup a LONG time, at least 3 hours, so that the meat becomes so tender it just falls off the bone and the cabbage is no longer definable.  Then I add the remainder of the ingredients, cooked till just tender and serve piping hot.  Hot on a night like this is very welcome indeed.

Aunt Mary always used short ribs for this soup.  It will not taste the same with a lean alternative but I did find a way to add more meat with not quite as much fat…flat iron steak.  I still use short ribs but trim most of the fat.  The short ribs have bones which of course add a lot of flavor,  but the steak adds more meat without quite as much fat.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to skim around the bowl chasing a tiny bit of meat that sometime appears…if I’m cooking beef soup, I want to find some!

So, tonight we’re settling in with a fire blazing and this soup, I hope that your friends and family enjoy it the next time that you make a winter’s Sunday Supper.

Hearty Old Fashioned Vegetable Beef Noodle Soup

Yield: 8 - 10 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Total Time: 3 hours, 15 minutes

A hearty soup perfect for a cold winter's night.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs. short ribs trimmed of excess fat
1 lb. flat iron steak (also known as top blade roast)
1 large onion,chopped
1 small head of cabbage, sliced very thin (about 3 cups)
2 14.5 can of diced tomatoes
4 cups water
3 ribs celery, sliced
3 large carrots, sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 (16 oz.) package mixed vegetables
2 cups cooked egg noodles (prepared as per package directions)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a large pot, add short ribs, flat iron steak, onion, cabbage, diced tomatoes, water and celery. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower heat to a low simmer and let cook for about 2 3/4 hours. Remove meat and let cool. Shred meat from bones and shred the steak, add back into soup. Then add the carrots and package of mixed vegetables. When carrots and vegetables are cooked, but still crisp, add 2 cups of cooked noodles.

Serve piping hot.

Enjoy!