Ever get yourself into a situation where you’re working so much that you’re walking around like a zombie, moving from activity to activity without the usual sense of purpose or productivity? Well that’s been me for a couple of weeks now. Luckily I don’t have children because it allowed me the novelty and gloriousness (made up word) of a 4 pm nap. An hour later I woke up to the most amazing smell. I just love waking up to yummy smells. In the morning, I love the smell of coffee and pancakes (also because if I can smell it that means someone special is making ME breakfast!). If I had to pick a smell I’d like to wake up to in the late afternoon or evening (not that that would be a natural or habitual occurrence), it would be this soup. It would also be so great to head out for a long walk in the woods or a hike and come home to this dish, the house smelling like stewing beef and bacon.
In a few words, it’s the perfect weekend soup.
Beef and Mushroom Ale Soup
- 1 cup dried mushrooms
- 4 cups of water
- 1 lb stewing beef cubes
- 2 Tbsp of heat resistant fat, such as bacon, coconut oil, lard
- 1 lb bacon
- 3 onions
- 1 bottle or can of ale
- 1 Lb of mixed mushrooms cleaned and chopped into chunks
- 4 cups of beef stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig of thyme
- season with salt and pepper
In a medium sized bowl, pour 4 cups of boiling water over the dried mushrooms and allow them to soak as you move on to the next step.
Dry off the beef cubes using a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. In a large heavy bottom pot, brown the meat using a heat resistant fat. I used duck fat I had saved from a previous meal. Brown the meat, in batches and set aside. Deglaze the pan with about a 1/4 cup of beer or more, depending on how much you need. Pour out the sauce into a bowl and set aside.
Chop the bacon into 1 inch pieces and brown until the fat has rendered and the bacon has become almost golden brown. Meanwhile chop the onion into 1 inch chunks and clean and chop the mushrooms. Add the onion to the pot and cook with the bacon for 5 minutes.
By this time the dried mushrooms should be nice and soft. Dice the mushrooms into small pieces and reserve the soaking liquid.
Add the beer and stir well, scrapping up any cooked pieces that may have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the mushrooms, the beef, the deglazing liquid, mushroom stock, beef stock and the herbs. Bring to a soup to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the beef is tender and your house smells like you’re a cooking ninja. About 2 hours.
Enjoy with crusty bread or biscuits.