For a steak and ale soup with mushrooms to develop into a rich, comforting and nourishing meal, it must undergo a transformation where the raw ingredients, under certain processes, are changed into what will ultimately become a flavorful and warming soup. Life is no different. To become wiser, kinder, more mature and more merciful, one must undergo a process of transformation as well, one which will keep the flow of life moving in a forward way, inspiring growth.
There’s a certain subtle flavor that this young bud of a year already contains within it, or perhaps a sort of slight vibration that creates a quiet knowingness in me that this will be quite the transformative year, on a personal level.
Changes are coming, desires are awaking.
It’s not even that I can quite put my finger on it exactly, but I can feel things swirling in the atmosphere that surrounds me; I can feel life moving, shaking, flowing, pushing me forward into the future, towards a further evolution, one where all of the small, seemingly insignificant changes that are taking place in me now, the slight bubbling and simmering, will culminate in a fuller transformation of me in the near future.
I love the idea of transformation, of going from one state to another, of shifting my shape, changing my form, becoming a new creation, all because certain processes are applied which then in turn coax changes to take place, which then urge a new state of being to emerge out of that.
It is the glorious “cooking process” of life; one where a little heat, or a little pressure, or a little fermentation, or a little flame, will sear, tenderize, aerate, and soften the ingredient (me) changing it into something mouthwatering, pleasurable and flavorful to partake in—something more rich and complex, more nourishing ultimately, than it was before the process was applied.
And there is fresh hope in that.
To witness the process of transformation (whether in one’s self or in another), is to experience the idea of life evolving and progressing; it is seeing with one’s own eyes that all is possible in life, and knowing, down to one’s very marrow, that one is met where one’s willingness begins.
What magic does this year hold within it? What possibilities?
And what will this woman that I am look like once I accept a gentle simmering to envelop me and slowly begin transforming?
My hope is that I will come out of the process more tender, more merciful, more confident, and more comfortable wearing the skin that I’ve been given to wear; and may I wear it proudly, and wisely, and with an abundance of discernment.
Here, today, I offer up my willingness to start my process…
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Steak and Ale Soup with Mushrooms
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves about 4
• 2 rib eye steaks (about 1 pound each), trimmed of excess fat and cubed
• Black pepper
• 4 tablespoons flour, divided use
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 2 tablespoons avocado (or olive) oil
• 2 small white onions, quartered and sliced
• 16 ounces (1 pound) sliced mushrooms
• 4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• 1 cup ale
• 6 cups beef stock, hot
• 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
• 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
-Add the cubed steak to a large bowl, sprinkle with a couple of good pinches of salt and black pepper, as well as 2 tablespoons of the flour, and toss to coat.
-Place a large soup pot over medium-high heat, add in the butter and the oil, and once melted together and super hot, add in the steak cubes and brown on all sides, about 3 minutes or so (steak should be rare on the inside, you only want color on the outside); remove from pot and set aside.
-Add into the pot a drizzle more oil if needed, and add in the onions and the mushrooms, along with a pinch or two of salt and pepper, and saute those together for about 10-12 minutes or so, until slightly golden.
-Stir in the garlic, and once aromatic, stir in the Italian seasoning, and add in the cup of ale; allow the ale to simmer vigorously for about 5 minutes or so, until it reduces and thickens slightly.
-Sprinkle in the remaining 2 tablespoons of the flour and whisk to blend, followed by the hot beef stock; stir together and then bring to a simmer over medium heat, allowing the soup to simmer uncovered for about 20-22 minutes so that it slightly reduces.
-Turn off the heat and return the browned steak back into the pot with it’s juices; allow the soup to sit for about 5 minutes or so before serving, just to allow the steak to cook through a bit more in the heat of the soup (you want it to remain tender—medium-rare to medium—and not become overcooked).
-Finish with the parsley and the thyme, ladle into bowls, and enjoy with some crusty bread and a cold ale!