A nutritious, flavorful and gluten free recipe for a cozy dinner!
Every time I make this recipe I’m amazed by the fact that a few simple ingredients can produce such a delightful dish. Anyway you look at it, this is a comfort food for anybody to make and eat! First of all, it’s actually pretty simple and easy to make, requiring just a handful of ingredients, some spices, and a big pot (OK, and a pan if you decide to bake the bones, which I advise you should). It is also packed with flavor and rich in nutrients while at the same time it’s a dish low in fat, meaning that everybody can enjoy it! It’s naturally gluten free, offers a good amount of protein, lots of vegetables and it’s also a great source of collagen, a substance which helps in keeping out joints, skin, hair and nails healthy and in good condition.
Bone broth is widely used in Crete, and every time my mother made some, my father would always wonder around the kitchen in false pretence, until he was allowed a mug filled with this strange – for my young eyes – liquid. Then, he would squeeze some juice from a lemon in the mug, add some salt and pepper, taste it, adjust the flavor with some more lemon juice or salt, and enjoy his treat silently! The broth is commonly used as a liquid to cook pasta in, or make some Cretan pilaf. This chicken soup risotto uses this technique and gives extraordinary results!
Everything in this soup gets so soft and tender you don’t even need a fork for the meat and vegetables! Slow and low is the key if you watch the big chunks of beef to surrender effortlessly to the pressure of your spoon and just fall apart ready to go into your belly 🙂 The potatoes and carrots, being cooked in the broth, suck all the flavor and become extra succulent and tasty.
Bake the bones (optionally) in the oven, until browned. The darker they get, the deeper the flavor will be.
Remove and discard the excess fat from the beef. You can also skim any fat from the surface of the broth after it’s cooked through, but I usually don’t do this, since its amount is not much.
Sauté the beef in the pot until both sides develop a nice brown color (as I’ve mentioned before, this step will intensify the flavor).
Cook low and slow! Low temperature and long cooking time ensure tenderness and great flavor.
- 1 1/2 - 2 pounds (750-1000 grams) boneless beef cut in big chunks (shank or another cut suitable for soup)
- 1 pound (500 grams) beef bones without skin, tissue and fat
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 cups water
- 1 1/2 pounds (750 grams) baby potatoes or potatoes cut in big pieces
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 1 large leek, cut in big pieces
- 1 onion, quartered
- 5-10 pepper corns
- 5 all spice corns
- A bunch of parsley
- 1 cup frozen peas
- Salt to taste
Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C)
Bake the bones for 30-45 minutes or until brown.
In a large pot heat the olive oil on medium/high heat and brown the beef.
Add the onion, leek, allspice and pepper corns and stir for one minute.
Add the water, parsley and the bones and simmer gently for one and a half hour or until meat is very tender (when soup starts to boil, you’ll need to skim the foam from the surface with a slotted spoon. After all the foam is gone, close the lid and let it boil).
Discard the bones and remove the meat from the pot.
Pass the soup through a very fine sieve or cheese cloth to catch onion, leek and any other residue. This is a good time to skim any excess fat from the surface with a spoon.
Return to heat, add some salt, the potatoes, carrots and beef and boil in low heat until vegetables are tender.
Add the frozen peas and let it cook for another 5 minutes.
Serve with wedges of lemons.
Ask your butcher to provide you some bones. If you can't find any, choose a bone-in cut of meat, skip the baking part and just roast it in your pot.
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