Quick interjection for writers: Chip MacGregor's annual Bad Poetry competition is open for another couple of days, I think, if you want to join the fun. I haven't time to try and participate, but I did laugh till I cried at some of the entries.
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The original of this recipe came through family friend Sharyn Sowell (who says she didn't originate the recipe either, but her blog is too neat to skip linking). I love it so much that I make it regularly, especially in the winter.
Of course, because I almost never actually use a recipe, I've tended to make this from memory, with the result that it never turns out exactly the same twice. It's great, though, in whatever form. This is one of those "make with what you have" kind of recipes, so I'll post the recipe in steps rather than the standard form. I've highlighted the ingredients; hopefully that helps.
Chop about a pound of stew meat and put it on to boil in salted water. [Alternately, you can start with beef or chicken broth.] Throw in a couple of bay leaves.
Brown a pound of Italian sausage with a few cloves of minced garlic and, if you wish, a chopped onion.
Add the sausage, garlic and onion to the boiling beef and lower the heat to a simmering level.
Add a cup of red wine and a teaspoon of oregano.
About 20 minutes before serving, add any vegetables you wish: my usual minimum standards are quartered mushrooms and a can of green beans, but Sharyn's list of suggestions also includes zucchini, carrots, celery, bell peppers, canned tomatoes, canned kidney beans, and broccoli.
At around the same time (check package directions): add a package of tortellini or other pasta.
The result is tasty and hearty, and I serve it with the rest of the red wine and a loaf of French bread which we shamelessly dip in the broth. It is a great dish for company as the recipe makes a very large pot of soup, and in a pinch I've even made it in the crock-pot (brown the beef right in with the sausage until nearly done, turn the crock-pot on high when you add the vegetables, and allow a longer cooking time for the vegetables and pasta. You might want to add beef broth or boullion for stronger flavor, but I didn't.) Enjoy!