Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Wonders of Leftover Braised Beef

On my last post I made a Mexican Braised Beef with the intent of showing you how versatile this meal really can be. I've already posted about Beef Chalupas and a Beef and Noodle dinner. I was in the mood for soup and after looking around at what I had on hand I came up with this recipe for Southwest Onion Soup using, you guessed it... leftovers and some odd ingredients you may have on hand too.

I used one giant Spanish onion, leftover braised beef, olive oil, a can of beer, a can of kernel corn, a can of rotel, beef bouillon cubes, and chipotle chili powder.

This was my inspiration, a photo from a cookbook.

This recipe comes from a Swanson soup cookbook my mother gave to me. This recipe calls for:
1 T olive oil
2 large spanish onions, sliced
1/2 pound boneless beef chuck roast, cut into cubes
1 t ground chipotle pepper
4 cups Swanson beef broth
1 bottle Mexican beer
1 can diced tomatoes with jalapeno
1 cup frozen corn
Tortilla chips
1 package shredded Mexican cheese

By reading this ingredient list, I could see where they were going with the recipe. For one, I didn't want to make four cups of this soup, I wanted a smaller portion. Secondly, I didn't have all the ingredients, exactly as they had listed. So I made this up as I went, using thier recipe as my guide.
I began with some olive oil over medium heat in the bottom of a large stock pot.

Next, I sliced my onion and stirred it into my pot, coating with the olive oil...then leaving to cook low and slow until they were translucent and slightly caramelized. Stirring every now and then.

About halfway through the cooking process, I just eyeballed about a teaspoon of my chipotle chili powder. You could use any seasoning you like here...garlic powder, paprika, regular chili powder, cumin.

Then I took my leftover beef and cut it into small chunks.

Then added the meat to my soft onions.

These few cherry tomatoes were about to go into the trash if I didn't use them up by the end of the week, so I cut them in half and threw those into the stock pot.

Add the can of rotel with all the juices.

Next, I drained a can of corn, and added those into the pot.

To build my flavors up, I added about a teaspoon of each Ground Cumin and Garlic Powder.

Using bouillon cubes, I made two cups of beef broth and added that to my meat and veggie mixture.

I don't have a picture, but I also added about 1/2 can of the beer. I would have preferred a Mexican style beer or a dark lager...but all I had was Bud Select. What are you gonna do? I brought this mixture to a boil and then covered and let simmer for 15 minutes.

Using my cookbook photo as inspiration, I toasted a few tortilla chips in the oven sprinkled with cheddar cheese. Garnised my warm and comforting soup with the chips and a sprig of cilantro, excellent. This was easy and tasted great. The meat fell apart and the flavors melded well. I liked the spice from the rotel and the chipotle chili powder. A great way to use leftovers - what about leftover pulled pork? Add cilantro to the soup, add hominy or add diced potatoes.

Printable Recipe for Southwest Onion Soup.

Have more beef leftover? I threw some into a small skillet and added 1/2 cup of BBQ Sauce. That makes chopped beef! Put that on a sandwich or on top of a spud! Jim loved this quick baked potato dinner topped with spicy bbq meat.

Still have more meat left? Shred the meat, place between two tortillas with some cheese and melt in a skillet. Instant quesadilla. This was quick and easy for a light dinner or in our case, a mid day snack for Jim.
In these economic times I try to find inexpensive cuts of meat and do my best to stretch them into as many different meals as possible. Its challenging but fun. I hope I've inspired you to be creative in the kitchen too.

{Print Recipe}


  1. Excellent! Ingenious! Brilliant! That's my very favorite way to cook. And I have to say that most everything turns you yummier than you ever thought it would. You're an inspiration.


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