Tina's Slow-Cooked Meat Minestrone
Here’s a great recipe for a cold weather day, shared with us by a family member of MTG. Tim, also known as “Tina” (we don’t know why) carries a bit of MTG in his backpack on his annual trip to a cabin in Wisconsin. We’re told he also packs a brew or two (it is Wisconsin, after all). After a long day of trekking, fishing, and sometimes hunting, Tina and his buddies return to a cabin filled with the wonderful, inviting aromas of this slow-cooked dish. You don’t have to go to a cabin in Wisconsin to enjoy this nourishing meal. A crusty roll is a nice complement, too. Try it and tell us what you think. We’ll be sure to pass your comments on to Tina.
1 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
Flour for coating
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 leek, white part and 3 inches of green part, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 rib celery, diced
2 medium red potatoes, peeled and diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1/4 small head of cabbage, shredded
Salt and pepper
3/4 ounce Glace de Viande dissolved in 2 cups hot water
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) Italian-style diced tomatoes
2 cups prepared marinara sauce or seasoned tomato sauce
1/2 cup dry ditalini pasta (or other tiny pasta)
1 can (15 1/2 ounces) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed well
6 ounces baby spinach
Coat the beef with flour and pat off the excess.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy pan over medium-high heat until the oil faintly smokes. Add the beef and sear until all sides are browned, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the beef to a 6- to 8-quart slow cooker; don't discard the pan drippings.
Add the vegetables to the pan with the beef drippings, and season them with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the vegetables are lightly browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the vegetables to the slow cooker.
Add the diluted Glace de Viande, tomatoes, and sauce to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover the slow cooker, and cook for 4 1/2 to 6 hours on high or 8 to 10 hours on low.
Stir in the dry pasta and beans 30 minutes before the end of cooking on high, or 45 minutes before the end of cooking on low, place the cover back on the cooker, and continue cooking.
At the end of cooking time, add the spinach to the slow cooker and stir to blend well. Allow spinach to lightly wilt, about 2 minutes. Season the minestrone with additional salt and pepper to taste.