Tuesday, February 5, 2008

When in Pittsburgh

Our Super Bowl fete went very well, thank you.

Loads of hot appetizers provided by everyone, and ham sandwiches with good, hot soup at halftime provided by yours truly. Lordamercy we were full by the end of that boring-ass game.

The good, hot soup in question was my famous Pittsburgh Soup.

Pittsburgh Soup?

The recipe is based on "Dan's Vegetable Soup" in the Three Rivers Cookbook Volume II. The book was presented to me by my near-miss in-laws (who were lovely, lovely people - wayhay lovelier than their son) and is still inscribed, "To: (Me) From: Mom and Dad R."

The relationship died but the soup lives on. If you've ever been to Pittsburgh, this actually sounds like the city:

Pittsburgh Soup

1 lb lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
3 big stalks celery, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 very large or three smallish russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large bag (I think it's about two pounds) of frozen soup veggies*
1/2 a head of cabbage, shredded
1 46 oz. can or bottle of V8 (NOT low sodium)
2 cups chicken stock
Several good dashes of Maggi seasoning (or Worcestershire)
1 tsp celery salt (DO NOT overdo the celery salt - you'll regret it)
2 tsps kosher salt, divided
50 cranks ground pepper
OPTIONAL - Small-diced polish sausage

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed stock pot. Add the onion and celery and cook until it begins to fade, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add beef, 1 tsp of salt and half the pepper. Break up the beef and brown it thoroughly (10-15 minutes).

While the beef browns, prepare your potatoes if you haven't already.

When meat is browned, drain off the fat. Add the remainder of the ingredients, bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook for at least 30 minutes.

This soup, as with so many dishes, is MUCH better the next day although it's pretty damn good right off the stove.

Serves 8-10 alone or more than a dozen with sandwiches.

*If you insist on cutting your own (out-of-season) corn from the cob, dicing your own carrots, shelling your own peas and snapping your own green beans, knock yourself out. I applaud you. However, I can't begin to tell you how much of each to add to the pot. Experiment and let me know how it turns out!

PS - Why the hell won't the Blogger Spell Check button work? HELP!

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