My darling man wanted a soup with beef and leeks. (Specifically,we were grocery shopping and he went "Oh, those leeks would be lovely in soup!") However, come the day to make the soup, and he was not feeling up to standing at the stove for all the prep time.
So I abstracted a recipe from four different sources, and came up with something that he, and company, enjoyed. Better yet, SpaceX was launching iridium satellites to orbit yesterday, so I got to watch a rocket rise and low earth orbit deployment shots in between cooking. Between a glass of wine or two for the cook, a fire in the sky, and happy company and husband with full stomachs, life was wonderful.
Beef Leek Soup
3 strips of bacon, diced.
2 pounds roast, diced into chunks
2 leeks, chopped, white and green parts, rinsed thoroughly before chopping
1 cup fresh mushrooms, diced or sliced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup red wine
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
1 sprig fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp died)
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped (or to taste, dried)
2-3 bay leaves
1 Tbsp smoke paprika (sweet)
3 medium yukon gold potaoes (because this sort of soup needs a garnish of potatoes), diced large
First, dice the roast into bite-sized chunks. Put on a paper plate with paper towels, so it's dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper generously. In a large heavy pot, cook the diced bacon until it gives up its delicious fat. Remove cooked bacon, and brown the beef one batch at a time, so it gets nicely browned.
While the beef is browning, cop up the leeks. Get a big colander, put chopped leeks in, and rinse thoroughly to get the last of the find soil out of 'em. (There's always some.) Dice up onion, too - you can just throw it int the colander with the leeks to keep everything together. If you have time, chop up the parsley and strip the thyme off its stems, and heap that in a little bowl with the rosemary twig and bay leaves.
Once the last batch of beef is browned, remove it and dump the onion & leek & mushrooms into the pot. If necessary, add some extra fat - olive oil or butter is fine - to help it all saute. (Depends on how fatty the beef was). Rinse off and chop up the potatoes, leaving skins on. When the leeks and mushrooms are limp and the onion is transparent, add the garlic, and the tomato paste. Once the garlic is sauteed (about 30 seconds), add the wine to deglaze the bottom of the pot. Scrape to make sure all the tasty brown goodness comes up.
If you have an electric tea kettle, this is an excellent time to fill and start it. Add the herbs, bay leaves, potatoes, paprika, and water to cover. Bring back to a boil (this is where the pre-boiled water makes it easier), and then set it to simmer. Cover with a lid, and check on it every fifteen minutes or so. Let simmer for at least 90 minutes. (I let it simmer for two hours, and the beef was utterly tender, but this is the kind of stew that could simmer all day in a pot and as long as the water doesn't evaporate off, it just gets tastier. You could do it in a slow cooker, but you'd likely need to add Worcestershire sauce in order to make up for the lack of browned bits when sauteing.)
Taste to see if you need to add any extra salt or pepper, and serve. (I just put salt and pepper on the table, so people could salt to preference.)