The following recipes start with this doctored-up beef broth base. Brew up a big batch and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days or in the freezer for up to three months.
Each of the following recipes makes at least enough for six servings. (Pack any leftovers in the kids’ school lunches!)
Note that salt isn’t added to most of these recipes because even lower-sodium store-bought stocks have quite a bit. But season to your taste.
1. Heat 1 Tbs. olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
2. Add 2½ cups chopped zucchini, 2 cups chopped carrots, 1½ cups chopped celery, and 3 minced garlic cloves.
3. Cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots and zucchini have browned a bit, about 10 minutes.
4. Add beef base and bring to a boil. Stir in 8 oz. dry ditalini pasta and one 15-oz. can kidney beans (drained and rinsed).
5. Reduce heat to medium and cook until carrots and pasta are tender, about 8 minutes.
1. Add 3 cups chopped parsnips, 3 cups sliced carrots, and ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper to the beef base. Cover and bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Just before serving, stir in 1 lb. very thinly sliced cooked boneless beef sirloin and 1 Tbs. fresh tarragon.
1. Preheat broiler.
2. Cut 4 oz. bread into 1-in. pieces and place on a baking sheet.
3. Broil until golden and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes.
4. In a large pot, melt 2 Tbs. unsalted butter over medium-high heat.
5. Add 6 cups thinly sliced onions.
6. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender and golden, about 15 minutes.
7. Remove from heat and add ¼ cup dry red or white wine (or lower-sodium beef broth).
8. Return to heat and stir to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
9. Add half of the beef base, 1 tsp. fresh sage, and ¼ tsp. ground black pepper. Bring to a boil.
10. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
11. To serve, place ceramic bowls or ramekins on shallow baking pans. Fill them with soup and reserved croutons.
12. Top each serving with 1 oz. sliced or shredded Gruyère cheese.
13. Broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat until cheese is bubbly and melted.