Spicy Obz Beef Soup
I’ve been scratching my head the last two days trying to think of a recipe to create from a packet of beef cubes. I didn’t want any form of stew or goulash, I wanted different. Part of my thought process was whether or not I had ever ordered a meal in a restaurant with beef cubes as the main ingredient. The answer was no. I do however remember eating at a Mexican restaurant a few years ago in Observatory, Cape Town and ordering a Mexican Spice Soup. So while my beef cubes were busy defrosting on the kitchen sink I recalled this particular soup having chicken pieces, corn and black beans as its main elements. My imagination was immediately tweaked and without any further ado, I got cracking on a list of ingredients to make my own Mexican inspired spicy soup using beef cubes. I decided that my soup would have a thick spicy tomato base because I like thick soup with lots of chunky bits. I couldn’t get hold of black beans so I opted for a can of mixed beans which works just as beautifully. The inspiration for my soup has come from my hometown. Why I thought of this little restaurant when I was looking for motivation in writing this recipe, I don’t know. I worked in Woodstock not too many years ago. I would have to commute through Observatory to get home and I just loved the buzz of the artiness and the students. I therefore decided to call my soup “Spicy Obz Beef Soup”.
You will need:
1 Packet of beef cubes (500-700g)
3 Cups of beef stock
½ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. coriander
½ tsp. chilli powder
½ tsp. paprika
1 stick of butter
1 Onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (finely minced)
1 green chilli (chopped)
6 whole tomatoes (skins removed)
1 can mixed beans in brine (drained)
2 cups corn (NOT cream-style sweet corn)
1 small can of tomato paste
Cheddar cheese (a good quality one)
Before you start anything, score a cross on the top of your tomatoes, place in a large heat proof bowl and cover in boiling water. The skin will just peel off. In a heavy based pot, fry the onion, chilli and garlic in a half stick of the butter. Add all the spices and allow to “cook-off”. This method of frying spices firstly removes the raw flavour of the spice and secondly it releases new flavours and aromas which infuse the oil/butter in which it is fried. This penetrates the meat more thoroughly. This process is called Bhuno. Click HERE for the source of information. Once the spicy mix has been simmering for about 5 minutes, add the meat. Once the meat is cooked, remove from the pot and set aside. In the same pot, add the other half stick of butter and add the tomatoes which you would have removed from the water, skinned and diced. At this point you can add a little seasoning as well as the 3 cups of beef stock. Be careful not to add too much seasoning as the beef stock is already a bit salty. Add the tin of tomato paste and allow mixture to simmer on low for about 15 minutes. Once the tomatoes are nice and soft and cooked through use a stick blender and blend in the pot till tomatoes are a smooth consistency. At this point return the meat to the mixture, add the tin of mixed beans and the corn and allow simmering for a further 30 minutes.
Serve with grated cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream.