~ My Mother-in-Law's Philly Hamburger Pepper Pot ~
Rethink your position if you think this frugal recipe isn't delicious. My mother-in-law, Phyllis, didn't cook a lot. She didn't have to. She hailed from Ardmore, Philadelphia (Mainline Philly) and became a doctor's wife. That said, what she did cook, butter-drenched oven-fried chicken, hamburger pepper pot, and, lemon sponge cake (which she learned to make from the woman her family hired to cook), were her childhood favorites, and, she excelled at them.
Phyllis explained that this soup is an obtuse version of classic Philadelphia Pepper Pot -- a drab looking but tasty soup made of honeycomb beef tripe, a meaty beef bone (usually leftover from the Sunday roast) and bell peppers. As her story goes, on the nights it was being served in their home, their cook made two versions: one for the adults and one for the kids. Beef stomach and bell pepper soup for the adults, and, a second pot made with hamburger and kid-friendly vegetables (carrots and potatoes).
She also explained that Philadelphia Pepper Pot did not classically contain egg noodles, even though Campbell's put macaroni in their 1950's tripe pepper pot (now a discontinued product). She told me it was only after she married her husband, who's parents were Pennsylvania Deutsch, that she started adding noodles to this very popular 1920's and '30's pre-WWII-era soup.
The first time I tasted this soup back in 1972, I must say, I paused. I had never seen what looked to be boiled hamburger swimming around with some noodles in some celery-colored broth. If the saying "people eat with their eyes first" means anything, at first glance, this soup is could be a reason not to eat. That said, I wasn't married or engaged to her son yet, just going steady, so, I hoped for the best and put the spoon to my mouth. I liked it so much, Phyllis would often make it because she knew I was coming for dinner. It was the first recipe I asked her for.
1 cup each: chopped sweet onion, carrot and celery
2 quarts beef stock, preferably homemade (8 cups) (Note: You can find my recipe for ~ Mel interrupts Christmas to bring you: Beef Stock ~ by clicking into Categories 15 & 22.)
Note: When using my homemade stock, I don't need to season it. When using your own homemade beef stock, you may or may not need to season it. When using canned beef stock, you need to season it with: 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, 1 teaspoon coarsely-ground black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 2 bay leaves and salt to taste
1 cup peeled and diced gold potatoes (dice potatoes just prior to adding them to the soup)
12 ounces extra-wide Pennsylvania Dutch egg noodles, to be cooked in the soup
~Step 1. In a wide-bottomed 6-quart stockpot, place the beef, onion, carrot and celery. Lightly season it with a sprinkle of salt and pepper (I use 15 grinds each of sea salt and black pepper). Cook over medium heat, stirring almost constantly until the meat is no longer pink. Do not brown the meat, and, while the meat is cooking, using a large spoon, break it up a bit, into bite-sized bits and pieces, but do not break it up into tiny bits and pieces, about 12 minutes. Note: If you have indeed used lean ground been (90/10) there is no need to remove or drain the juices.
~Step 2. Add the beef stock and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. While the soup is coming to a simmer, peel and dice the potatoes, then, add them to the simmering soup. When the potatoes have been added and the stock returns to a simmer, add and stir in all of the egg noodles. Continue to cook, uncovered, until noodles are tender, about 8-9 minutes.
Serve & savor each & every scrumptious slurp!
Special Equipment List: cutting board; chef's knife; 6-quart, wide-bottomed stockpot w/lid; large spoon; small ladle; soup ladle
Cook's Note: For my own favorite ways to make traditional, from scratch beef soup, click into Categories 2, 19, 20 or 22 to read ~ One recipe, two soups: Beef Barley or Beef Noodle ~. Both can be made ahead and frozen too.
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2016)