At least once a month growing up Dad made his famous Red Beef Soup. In the wintertime this was made every week. It made a TON, it was inexpensive and it was just damn good. It took me years to figure out how to replicate this as like most in my generation our parents and grandparents wrote nothing down recipe-wise. And the stuff that was written down usually called for “a hint of this” or “a smidge of that”. Or my mom would write “carrots, onions, meat and can goods” and that was the ENTIRE recipe. Wait, what?
So while I was home sick for those 6 weeks I wanted comfort food. Even though my parents have been gone well over 20+ years I wanted them here. I had sent Mr. Fantabulous off to the store with a list of stuff to make this soup. The thing is I had to go from taste memory as like I said, nothing was written down. Over the years I tried countless times to replicate his soup but was never quite there. It was always missing something.
As I stood there assembling it I tasted the cold broth (pre-cooking it) and it still was missing that one thing. It wasn’t until I added the Worcestershire (you know that word I can’t say and can’t spell without the help of Google or Word!) that it came together. Now I made this in the crock pot but you could most certainly make it in a large covered soup pot on the stove top for a good 2-3 hours or until the meat was done. But I wasn’t feeling well and just wanted to rest so the crockpot won out.
Hours later the smell of this cooking woke me up. I must have been in a super deep sleep as when I woke up I, for a minute, thought I was in my childhood house and that Dad was out in the kitchen cooking.
As I wandered out to the kitchen I realized I was in my house and that Dad would not be out in the kitchen. It got me pretty down as, like I said, I was really missing my parents. It’s funny no matter how old we are, when we’re sick nothing beats being comforted by your parents (or for me, Mr. Fantabulous.. he gives THE BEST hugs!). Now Mr. Fantabulous about the same day was coming up from downstairs all covered in construction dust sniffing the air. He immediately asked what I was cooking and more importantly, was it ready. LOL Not “Honey how are you feeling?” but “can I eat soon?” I told him about 15-20 minutes as I had to make the noodles. As I took the lid off of the crockpot that old familiar smell hit me. I knew, without tasting it, I recreated his recipe. Immediately I started to smile.
As I prepped the rest of the meal I couldn’t help but smile as I knew… I just knew.
Now Mr. Fantabulous is not really a soup person. He only likes it when he’s sick which I think is just plain stupid as soup ROCKS! I have it at least once a week all year round. So for him I made a small bowl plus I gave him some of the beef, potatoes and carrots as a ‘meal’. For me though I was all about this big ol’ bowl of soup. Normally when I make something new I will set our plates down in front of us and wait for his reaction but with this no, this was something personal. This was mine. He didn’t have the memories that went along with this soup and just what it meant to me.
I dug my spoon in and took a big spoonful. Honestly folks it brought tears to my eyes (as it’s doing right now as I type this up… you know I’m a huge sap with sentimental stuff). It wasn’t so much that the soup was truly amazing (because it was) but the fact, at that moment in time when I really wanted my Dad I had him there with me. I know it may sound corny but food is such a huge part of my life. Yes because of TKW but also because of the memories it carries with it. I was transcended back my childhood where I would sit at the kitchen table coloring while Dad made this soup.
Dad would be there in his pajama bottoms, slippers and white t-shirt. His intense blue eyes just lighting up his face as he smiled. His belly laugh echoing through the house as he would carry on or sing silly songs to me. Mom would come into the kitchen with her curlers in her hair and head covered by a babushka as she just ‘set it’. He’d grab her and just twirl her around the kitchen. Now once you got my Mom laughing she would just lose it. And like clockwork within a few minutes she’s yell “You’re gonna make me pee myself from laughing so hard!” and inevitably go run off to the bathroom. And yes, I inherited that trait from her. Once you make me start to laugh hard I’m done.
Once dinner was ready they’d make 2 types of noodles – the wide egg noodles and the smaller ones. I’d go through spouts of liking one better than the other; still do to this day. This soup just holds such a big part in my heart. It’s such a huge part of my childhood and my memories. What was awesome though as Mr. Fantabulous must have been watching me eat this and get lost in my memories. He reached over and wiped the tears from my cheeks and just squeezed my hand. Apparently he did this a few times and I never knew it. He knows me and knew I was in a place that just made me so happy.
So as we sat there and ate the soup I talked more about my childhood, my dad and just some of my memories. I tell Mr. Fantabulous that if my Dad were still alive that he would be here, living with his. That they would be best friends. I see so much of my father in my husband that it’s uncanny. They are always putzing around, tinkering and fixing something (even when it’s not broken). They get those full belly laughs and give the most amazing hugs. When I was little my Dad was my protector; he was the one that I knew would keep me safe from the monsters under my bed.
My husband now does that. He is my protector, my confident and that one that I know would scare away all of the monster from under the bed. That is.. along as it’s not a spider-type monster. Then he’ll just set the house on fire! LOL
- 1 yellow onion, cut into small pieces
- 2 stalks of celery cut in small chunks, including the leaves
- 4 carrots, cut into 1/2” rounds
- 3lbs boneless beef roast
- 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 4 cups beef stock
- 1 Tbl garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp parsley
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 10 Fresh basil leaves
- 1 lb wide egg noodles plus 1 1/2 tsp salt
- Layer onions, celery, garlic and carrots on the bottom of your 5qrt crock pot bowl.
- Season roast with salt and pepper and place on top of vegetables in cooker.
- In a bowl mix together the beef stock, basil, oregano, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and half of the crushed tomatoes.
- Pour the mixture over top the roast. *Note the liquid should only come up no more than 1/2-2/3rds the way up the roast. You do not want it submerged in the liquid.
- Take the remaining crushed tomatoes and spread out on top of the roast.
- Place the fresh basil leaves in the crushed tomatoes.
- Cover and cook on LOW 9-10 hours.
- When the roast has 25 minutes left of cooking time bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot.
- Add in 1 1/2 tsp salt and egg noodles and cook until done per the package instructions.
- When done, drain and set aside.
- When the roast is done, it will just fall apart so it’s best to use 2 large slotted serving spoon or spatulas to remove.
- Allow to rest for 5 minutes on a serving platter.
- Remove the potatoes (if using) to the platter.
- Skim any fat off of the top and discard.
- Pour the liquid and veggies into a large pot and place over medium low heat.
- Take the beef and lightly shred it on the platter.
- Add the shredded beef to the soup pot (all as little or as much as you want back into the broth)
- Taste for salt and pepper.
- Cook for just a few minutes until warmed through.
- In a soup bowl add your egg noodles and then using a ladle, add in your soup mixture over top.
6-8 medium sized potatoes
Add these to the crock pot when you assemble the recipe on top of the roast.
When serving just rough cut up the potatoes
I personally use this Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker! I love it! 6qrt Slow Cooker
If you want an all-in one crock pot, go with this one from All-Clad! I love mine! All-Clad Cast Aluminum Insert 4qrt Slow Cooker