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09/25/2019

~ My Pennsylvania Deutsch-Style Beef Noodle Soup ~

IMG_4705Soups and stews.  We can't seem to get enough of them this time of year -- I know I can't.  The difference between the two is easy to describe.  If you started by simmering meat, poultry, seafood and/or vegetables in a pot of seasoned water-, wine-, juice- or milk- based liquid, you've made soup.  If it is thickened at the end of the process, a soup can be stew-like.  If you started by cooking/sautéing meat, poultry, seafood and/or vegetables in a small amount of seasoned oil, butter or fat, then added just enough of flour and liquid or thickened liquid to it to bring it to an almost gravy-like consistency, you've made a stew.  If only a small amount of flour is used, a stew can be quite soupy.  Soup or stew?  Thick or thin, it's all about how you began the process.   

Every culture, and, I mean every culture, makes wonderful soups and stews using ingredients and seasonings familiar to them and local to their climate.  Everywhere you go, soups and stews are served in a cup or a bowl, and, depending on the culture, it's not unusual for them to be ladled over a starch (bread, couscous, rice, potatoes, egg-noodles or other types of noodles, etc.), to turn a light meal into a hearty meal, or, under certain circumstances, a knife-and-fork meal.    

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d1955322970cThe PA Deutsch are known for their egg noodles and noodle dishes.  In their farming communities, noodle soups and stews and noodle dishes aren't just a meal -- they're a relaxing, comforting, pull-up-a-chair-after-a-hard-days-work way of life. Today's recipe is not to be confused with Pennsylvania Deutsch Pot Pie, which is a thickened soup, contains their signature pot-pie noodles.

If you don't have time for making homemade stock, worry not.  I've written this w/a store-bought stock option too. 

Today's recipe is my somewhat-simplified version of their beef noodle soup, which is a clear, nicely-seasoned soup, containing chards of beef and chunky vegetables leftover from the making of the stock, plus, their signature square egg noodles in store-bought form -- which cook right in the soup.  There's more. Don't shy away from making this soup with high-quality store-bought stock -- I know you're busy, so I won't criticize.  I've written the instructions to include that option.

IMG_46612  quarts beef stock, preferably homemade (8 cups), or high-quality store-bought stock (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 unsalted store-bought beef stock, season it with:  2 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves1 tablespoon sea salt and 1  teaspoon coarse-grind black pepper)  

1-1 1/2 pounds cooked beef, preferably from the making of the stock, pulled into bits and pieces, or, leftover oven-roasted beef chuck roast if using store-bought stock

12-16 ounces peeled and 3/4" chunked gold potatoes

6-8  ounces diced yellow or sweet onion

12-16  ounces peeled and 3/4" sliced cooked carrots, from the making of the stock, or, fresh if using store-bought stock  

6-8  ounces 3/4" sliced cooked celery, from the making of the stock, or fresh if using store-bought stock

6-8  ounces uncooked square or extra-wide Pennsylvania Dutch egg noodles

minced fresh parsley leaves, for garnish 

~Step 1.  To make the soup using homemade stock and previously cooked vegetables:  In a wide-bottomed 6-quart stockpot, bring the homemade stock to a gentle simmer.  Add the potatoes and onions and simmer gently until potatoes are just cooked through, 12-15 minutes.  Add the cooked carrots and celery.  Return to a gentle simmer. Stir in the beef.  To this point, the soup can be prepared several hours in advance -- simply turn off the heat, cover the pot and allow it to steep on the stovetop, then, return it to a simmer and proceed when ready.  Stir in the uncooked noodles and simmer until tender, about 8-9 minutes.  Ladle into bowls and serve immediately.

IMG_4664 IMG_4664 IMG_4664 IMG_4664 IMG_4664 IMG_4664 IMG_4664 IMG_4664 IMG_4690 IMG_4690 IMG_4690 IMG_4690~Step 2.  To make the soup using store-bought stock and fresh vegetables:  In a wide-bottomed 6-quart stockpot, bring the store-bought stock and additional seasonings to a gentle simmer.  Add the potatoes, onions, carrots and celery.  Return to a gentle simmer and cook until carrots and potatoes are both tender 12-15 minutes.  Stir in the beef.  To this point, the soup can be prepared several hours in advance -- simply turn off the heat, cover the pot and allow it to steep on the stovetop, then, return it to a simmer and proceed when ready.  Stir in the uncooked noodles and simmer until tender, about 8-9 minutes.  Ladle into soup bowls and serve immediately.

Serve & savor each & every scrumptious soupy slurp!

IMG_4707If it's an Old Fashioned Beef Stew you prefer:

IMG_4541My Pennsylvania Deutsch-Style Beef Noodle Soup:  Recipe yields 5 quarts.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; vegetable peeler; 6-quart stockpot w/lid; large spoon; soup ladle 

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d1956dbd970cCook's Note: I was born and raised in Eastern, PA, the Lehigh Valley region, which has a large Pennsylvania Dutch community.  For the past forty years, I've lived here in Central PA, which has a large Amish population, both known for their pot pie.  Lucky am I to have learned how to make both styles. Recipes do vary from cook to cook, and, yes there are cross-over versions because people and their recipes migrated throughout our state and USA, but, if you're interested in a tale of two pot-pies:  ~ Nana's Bare Bones PA Deutsch-Style Pot Pie ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2019)

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