Welcome to the season of Late Summer and the Earth element – where our digestive system is at the forefront of support and soups and stews are often found on the stovetops! This season calls in centering, grounding, and finding balance between the yang energy of summer and the yin energy of fall, and is when we will start to see more orange and yellow vegetables popping into harvests view.
Since our goal is to nourish the digestive system through our stomach, spleen, and pancreas without putting any additional strain on ourselves – making a yummy soup or stew is just what the Chinese medicine practitioner ordered! Soups and stews are filled with nourishing proteins, vegetables, spices, and liquids in the form of water, broth, or stocks. And when we consume soups and stews – our bodies don’t have to work as hard to extract the nourishment in order to send it where it energetically needs to go throughout our system.
Without further ado – my favorite basic soup and stew recipe:
Basic Soup and Stew Recipe
Here’s What You’ll Need:
Meat: Feel free to use any meat(s) that you’re drawn to – if any at all. Traditionally, beef and lamb work wonders in bringing rich fats and flavor, but whichever meat you do choose it’s best to lean towards organic, free-range, wild-caught, and local if possible. You’ll want to estimate about 6 ounces of meat per serving – adding a little more if you’re prepping for leftovers (yum!)
Vegetables: In my soups and stews, I like to add at least one root veggie and a few non-root veggies – aiming for a total of about ½ cup per serving.
*Root veggies — beets, parsnip, potato, rutabaga, sweet potato, turnip, and yams
*Non-root veggies — cabbage, carrots, eggplant, garlic, onion, mushrooms, string beans, swiss chard
Spices: Onion (½ onion per serving or 1 onion per pound of protein); Garlic (4-6 cloves); If you’re opting out of the onion and garlic, then salt and pepper to taste to stick with the somewhat bland principles of Late Summer. You can also experiment with bay leaves, Chinese five spice, cinnamon, dried chillies, orange zest, rosemary, or thyme.
Liquid: For stews – ½ to 1 cup of liquid per serving; For soups – closer to 3 cups or more, depending on how parched you’re feeling. You can use either water, some nourishing bone stock, or medicinal vegetable broth to serve as the base of your soup or stew. You can also swap out 2 to 4 cups of your base with something a bit more flavorful like apple cider vinegar, beer, red wine, or white wine.
Oil: Choose one that is heat-stable like coconut oil, butter, or lard for cooking.
Bonus tip: If you’d like to add a sweet twist to your soup or stew (sweet is after all the flavor of Late Summer!) consider adding in some seasonal fruit like chopped apples aiming for about ⅛ cup per serving
Directions for Crockpot
- Set the crockpot to low heat
- Cut the meat and vegetables into 1 ½ or 2 inch cubes. Season the meat generously with salt and pepper (if using these) and prepare the liquid mixture of your choice.
- Add 1 teaspoon of oil to a sauté pan and pan sear the meat on high heat until all sides are browned (about 3 to 5 minutes per side); Remove from skillet and set aside.
- In the same sauté pan, add another tablespoon of oil and the onions and garlic (if using); Sauté over medium heat until translucent.
- Add in the liquid; Using a metal or wooden spatula, scrape the bits from the bottom of the sauté pan to mix with the liquid, onions, and garlic.
- Stir in any additional spices and sauté for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until fragrant.
- Place the meat and vegetables in the pot (at the same time!) and pour over the liquid.
- Cover and simmer for 7 to 8 hours, or until the meat and vegetables are fork-tender.
Whether you’re making a soup or stew – the cooking time will be the same. Serve warm and enjoy the nourishing goodness!
If you’re looking for a seasonal dessert to cure the sweet tooth of Late Summer, check out my Stuffed Dessert Dates recipe to top off a well-rounded and delicious meal!