Rummaging through my freezer recently I found myself in possession of quite a few packages of beef soup bones. I am not a big soup eater, and these bones had a significant amount of meat on them, clearly in my mind, I could do something more with them than mere soup.
So here is what I did. I made a French Onion type AuJus for sandwiches! I really though I had provolone or even swiss cheese in my fridge to make it a little more authentic, but I didn’t I had good old colby-jack and it was just fine!
So if you have a couple packages of soup bones you aren’t sure what to do with, or have very meaty soup bones that you’d like to make into a meal, here is an idea for you!
In addition to soup bones you will need:
Olive oil and butter, about 1 tablespoon each to brown the soup bones.
Salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon thyme
2 cups beef stock
1-2 medium onions, chopped
Red wine (optional)
Bay leaf (optional)
Bread with a little substance to it (such as Italian or French bread, Hamburger buns or hoagie rolls)
In a large pot, heat the oil and butter over medium to medium-high heat. Salt and pepper the soup bones and place in the hot oil. You will want these to brown very well, but not burn and they do not need to cook through.
When all the pieces are brown you have two options, you can use your Crock Pot (I did, I know I said I never use it, but it worked great for me in this case) or you can set the meat aside for a little bit while you deal with the rest of the ingredients.
De-glaze the pan you browned the meat in with the beef stock (this means pour the liquid in while the pan is still screaming hot and use a big spoon to scrape all the brown deliciousness off the bottom of the pan. Bonus, the pan will be easier to clean later). Add the thyme and the wine and bay leaf to the broth (if you want to) and then pour this over your meat in the crock pot.
If you are using the same pan you will need to pour the liquid off into a holding vessel or use a different pan for your onions.
Reduce your heat to low, add a little more butter and add the onions. You want these to caramelize, so this step will take about 10-15 minutes. If you turn the heat up they will fry and or burn. So go low and slow, stirring often. When they are soft, brown and tender add them to your meat.
Let this simmer for a couple hours until the meat is falling off the bones and tender. Mine cooked for about 4 hours in the crock pot on low setting.
Pull the meat out and set it aside to cool slightly so you can handle it. Meanwhile, if you want a thicker “soup” pour the broth back into your pan and bring to a gentle boil until it reaches the thickness you desire. This is also a good time to adjust salt and pepper if you need more. Remove the bay leaf, no one wants to eat that.
Remove the bones from your meat and shred or chop it finely. I would not suggest using your favorite knife, in case you encounter a stray bone piece.
Pile the meat onto your lightly toasted (or not) bread of choice and top with cheese. Serve with a side of your soup, dunk and enjoy!
Congratulations, you just made soup and sandwiches for 8 (at least that is about how much meat I got from 2 packages of soup bones) for less than $5.
Here is what it looks like!