Thursday, February 9, 2012

Big Bowl O'Love - Dad's Special Soup

There is no denying the relationship between food and emotion.  Some foods can bring us back to childhood.  Candy Buttons always make me smile.  They taste gross but they make me smile because they remind me of the summer my cousin, John, stayed with us for the summer.  He babysat my sister and I.  I idolized John and have so many memories of that summer full of trips to the pool and riding our bikes up the road to Kenny's Market to buy candy necklaces, candy buttons and brown cow suckers.

When you have food allergies those strong emotions related to food can cause quite an internal conflict, especially when you develop an allergy to a food with ties to strong memories or emotions.  The last few years I have worked on changing my perception of food.  Looking closely at labels and ingredients helps me to shift my thinking from craving and desire to nutrition and sustenance.  It works for me, most of the time.  Sometimes though, a food holds such a strong connection that I would do just about anything to taste it again.  This is true for my Dad's special soup.  It is a recipe passed down from his mom but to me, it is my Dad's soup.  Just the smell of this soup makes me feel safe and loved, the kind of feeling a little girl gets from knowing that her Daddy is there watching out for her.

Last week was rough.  I had a wicked cold and was struggling with some personal stuff.  I was sad, frustrated, sick, tired and feeling like a lost little girl.  Every day I thought about Dad's soup.  I wanted nothing else.  Finally I called him and asked for the recipe, knowing it was full of tomatoes and potatoes but determined to see if I could make a safe version that would fill that void.  We didn't really talk about anything other than the soup recipe but just talking to him made me feel better.

I made the soup yesterday.  It wasn't the same as Dad's but it was pretty good.  I was a little disappointed until I remembered one of the secrets of the soup:  it's always best after a day or 2 in the fridge.  I tried it again today for lunch and it warmed my heart just the way a good comfort food should.  I'm also finally starting to feel like I'm getting a leg up on this cold or flu I've been fighting.  Quantities are flexible.  Put in more of what you like and less of what you don't.  It takes all day to cook so it's great for a weekend when you can enjoy the aroma filling the house but a crock pot works too.


  • Beef Soup Bone with plenty of meat on it - or a bone and some stew meat (Dad likes to use a chuck roast slow roasted in the oven and added at the end but I think that without the tomatoes you need the extra flavor from the marrow of the bone)
  • Carrots - 4
  • Yams or Sweet Potato - 2 med
  • Onion - 1 lg
  • White Cabbage - 1 med head - don't skimp on the cabbage!  This is the ingredient that makes or breaks it.
  • Garlic - 4 cloves thinly sliced
  • Beef Broth - 3 x 36oz boxes- I used Pacific Foods, all ingredients listed and no nightshades
  • Olive Oil
  • S&P

Heat some olive oil over med/high heat in a large soup/stock pot.  Add Beef to pot and sear on one side about 5 min.  While beef is searing, chop the onion.  Cut your veggies into large chunks.  Turn the beef and add onion to the pot.  Cook another 5 min.

Add Garlic, cook 3 min
Add Broth & turn to High Heat
Clean and chop remaining veggies and add to pot.
Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer all day (6-8 hrs).  Before serving, remove the beef to a cutting board, trim fat, remove bone and pull apart.  Meat should pull apart easily.  Return meat to the pot. S&P to taste.

Cool the leftovers in the fridge.  Remember, it's better the second day.  As always, let me know how you like it and what you do to personalize it.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like such a great soup! If it weren't getting warm, I would make it tomorrow. Definitely on my to-do list.