This is an extraordinary, fine-restaurant-quality beef and vegetable soup. It is a great way to use your leftover holiday roast, and the hearty soup, served with a bit of bread, is a meal in itself. Start the soup at least 8 hours ahead of serving, as cooling time is needed to skim fat from the stock.
Oil and/or butter for sautéing
1 large onion, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup dry red wine
Bones of a rib roast
4 cups vegetable stock
4 cups water
3 carrots, sliced in ½" rounds
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into ½" dice
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 cans (14 ounces each) diced tomatoes with their juice
½ small head cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 cup leftover roast beef, cut into ½" pieces (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
In a soup pot, heat oil or butter, then sauté onions until just tender. Add garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.
Add wine, scraping up any browned bits that may have formed. Add bones, stock and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1½ hours.
For best results, cool mixture and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Skim fat from top and discard.
Place a colander in a large bowl and strain mixture. Add stock back to pot, then add all ingredients except cabbage and leftover beef. Cook for 20-30 minutes, until vegetables are just tender.
Meanwhile, remove any meat from bones and set aside.
When carrots and potatoes are just tender, add cabbage and cook for 10 minutes.
Stir in beef pieces and add salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve with a crusty French bread or warm dinner rolls.