Sweet Pea and Beef Soup
This recipe is a little bit of an ode to the Middle Eastern spice mix, Nine Spice. I really do enjoy making my own spice blends, especially for things I know to contain a ridiculous amount of unnecessary salt- like that taco seasoning packet, or the dreaded ramen packet. Like my old roommate used to tell me, "Go easy with that packet, 'cus you know that sh!t will kill ya". Truer words.
The Nine Spice blend is a gorgeous mix of many spices that aren't always at hand in the American spice cabinet. If you're interested in making your own, here's a great version that is authentic and aromatic. But you can also buy a version that is a close second to making your own, called Baharat. The markets near me in Rhode Island seem to have recently developed a love for the spice company Janasal Valley- which carries this version of Baharat. It's delicious and pairs nicely with the rich flavors of ground beef and beef bone broth.
This recipe came together quickly - 30 minutes with the chopping - so it made a great weeknight meal. But the flavors are deep and satisfying, elegant enough that I'd serve it to friends with some great fresh bread and a salad. Oh, and my kids had SECONDS. Enjoy!
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lb ground beef
2.5 teaspoons Baharat or Nine Spice Blend- divided
1/2 red onion, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, with leaves, chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 pints water
1 cup fresh or frozen peas (thawed if frozen)
1 cup (about half a large bunch) collard greens, julienned
handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper
1. In a soup pot or dutch oven, over medium high heat, brown the ground beef in the olive oil. When it starts to release juices, add salt and pepper and 1 teaspoon of the Baharat or Nine Spice blend. Continue over med high heat until the meat is fully cooked- about 7 minutes. Remove the meat and juices from the pot into a nearby bowl.
2. In the same pot you cooked the meat in, over med heat, sauté the red onion, carrots and celery about 5 minutes, until fragrant. Then add the tomato paste and the remaining 1.5 teaspoons Baharat or Nine Spice blend. Stir and combine with the vegetables. Cook like this about 5 minutes to give the tomato paste time to brown with the veggies.
3. Add the bone broth and water, then add the cooked ground beef back into the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer covered, about 10 minutes.
4. Add the peas and collards. stir to combine. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to your pallet. Top with cilantro.