A trip back to the Mendocino Hotel with my best good girlfriend, Linnea, meant meat and potatoes of the fanciest and tastiest kind. They use Indian spices in their meat mixture so it has a very earthy smokey flavor to it.
Mendocino Hotel meatloaf, summer squash and mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy:
Fancy Schmancy with their herb sprigs and squash strings wrapping around the potatoes
With a side of bread and butter
This was something my mom came up with as a tribute to the Minestrone house soup at Negri’s Italian Family Restaurant in Occidental, California.
Our small 4 person family tradition was to visit Negri’s every Thanksgiving for our big yearly family dinner. With each dinner they have several courses of pre-meal appetizers. You are usually full before your actual entree comes.
One of these goodies is their Minestrone house soup. A favorite by all of my family members. But who wants to wait to have something just once a year? So mom made her own version. It’s different than a traditional Minestrone for sure. She took liberties and ended up with a sort of basic vegetable soup, with pasta/beans and steak added.
This soup is easy, cooks all day (you could crock pot this as well) and comes out amazing. Here’s how I make my mom’s “Minestrone” soup.
Veggies to peel/chop:
Garlic and Rutabega
Carrots & potatoes
Mince and saute your garlic and onion in olive oil in large soup pot
Cut your beef steak into smaller chunks before adding to brown with saute mixture
Add Italian Spices
Lastly, open and add 3 cans of peeled while tomatoes to large bowl. Squish and break down with hands. Add 2 cans of hot water to bowl and add this mix, along with all chopped veggies to soup pot
Add more water if needed as cooks. Cook 3-4 hours until desired thickness. If needed, cornstarch can be used to thicken the soup base.
When it’s cooked for at least 3 hours, you can add shell pasta & red kidney beans as a final touch. It takes awhile to make, and lots of chopping prep work. But served in heaping bowls with Sour Dough bread it’s hard to top!