Friday, 3 October 2014

Spicy Scotch Beef and Tomato Homemade Soup

Spicy Scotch beef and homegrown tomato soup

This is the time of year when many people are harvesting the last of their homegrown food crops from gardens and greenhouses and at the same time starting to think ahead to the darker, colder nights and months of winter that lie not so far ahead. What better then than to consider recipes which both use up some of these homegrown treats and can be frozen for later use to form warming meals on cold nights. That is how this simple, tasty soup recipe came about and I have most of it in my freezer with the intention of taking it in my flask on winter fishing trips.

Fresh greenhouse grown Scottish red and yellow tomatoes

These tomatoes were a present one day last week from a local greenhouse. There was over twelve pounds of them in total but in this instance I used four pounds of the red ones only.

Scotch boiling beef and beef bones


3/4 pound piece boiling beef
1/2 pound additional beef bones
1 large carrot, washed and roughly chopped
1/2 white onion, peeled and halved
1/4 pound mixed sliced bell peppers
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
Salt and pepper
5 pints cold water

4 pounds red tomatoes, washed and halved
1/2 teaspoon (approximately) dried oregano
Olive oil for drizzling
2 large, medium strength red chillies, seeded and roughly chopped

Carrot, peppers and onion for making beef stock


Put the boiling beef and beef bones in to a large soup or stock pot. You really do need such a pot for this as even a big, "ordinary" pot is unlikely to be big enough for even such  a fairly small quantity of soup. These pots are often not as expensive as you may think and can last for many years, being used to make hundreds of batches of stock and/or soup.

Beef, vegetables and seasonings for stock

Add the carrot, bell peppers, onion, rosemary and thyme to the pot and season well with salt and black pepper.

Beef stock ingredients are brought to a simmer

Measure out the five pints of cold water (note that a British pint equals 1.25 US pints so US readers, use 6.25 pints) and pour over the beef and vegetables. Bring to a simmer for two hours.

Beef and bones are removed from stock to cool

Turn off the heat under the pot and use a large slotted spoon to remove the beef and bones only to a bowl. Cover the bones and the stock and leave to cool/partly cool while you roast the tomatoes.

Weighing out tomatoes for roasting

Weigh out the tomatoes and wash them carefully in some lukewarm water in your sink. Dry in a clean tea towel.

Washing tomatoes in lukewarm water

Lay the halved tomatoes on a couple of roasting trays, cut sides up. Season with the oregano and salt and pepper before drizzling with olive oil.

Tomatoes are halved and seasoned for roasting

Roast the tomatoes in a low to moderate oven (150C/300F/Gas Mark 2) for two hours.

Roasted tomatoes

When the tomatoes come out of the oven, they should be shrivelled and although not completely dried out, at least contain considerably less moisture.

Seeded and roughly chopped chilli peppers

Strain your part cooled stock through a sieve and return it to the empty pot before adding the tomatoes and chopped chillies. Bring to a simmer for half an hour.

Tomatoes and chillies are added to strained beef stock

It is never a good idea to blend extremely hot liquids so let the developing soup cool for at least half an hour before blitzing in small batches.

Tomato soup is blitzed until smooth

As each batch is blitzed, pour it through a sieve and in to a large bowl. Use a wooden spoon to help the mixture through the sieve though don't force it. The sieve should collect unprocessed pieces of skin and seeds.

Soup is strained through a fine sieve

You should be left with a smooth and fairly thin soup. I deliberately wanted it fairly thin as it is to be used from a flask. You could use more tomatoes if you want it thicker.

Sieved spicy beef and tomato soup

Carefully pick all the beef from the bones in small pieces.

Beef is picked from cooled bones

Rinse out your soup pot and carefully pour in the strained soup.

Sieved tomato soup and beef are brought back to a simmer

Add the beef to the soup, bring up to a simmer, taste and adjust the seasoning and the soup is ready to eat.

Soup is ladled in to plastic dishes for freezing

I did enjoy a bowl of the delicious soup as soon as it was ready but most of it was allowed to cool before being ladelled in to small plastic dishes for freezing.

Portions of soup ready for the freezer

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