Paleo Honey-Glazed Beef and Zoodle Soup, Chinese-Style

THIS is one recipe you're going to want to cook when you've only got 15 minutes to get dinner on the table.

Or when you want to curl up on the chair in a blanket while the rain's hammering down outside.

Because this is sweet, comforting Chinese-style soup. And it's paleo.

The beef is from a company called Farmer's Choice, who specialise in free-range meats. It was, honestly - sweet, tender and richly-flavoured. Gorgeous.

This hot, anise-scented soup is packed with veggies - courgettes (zucchini), carrots, spring onions - as well as ginger and garlic. There's nutritious, healing bone broth in there and then the beef, which is stir-fried and then caramelised in a little honey.

Some people don't like to add the sesame seeds as they're thought to contain high levels of omega-6 oils. Leave them out if you prefer, but they do provide a toasty, nutty crunch to the whole dish. I hope you like it.

Paleo Honey-Glazed Beef and Zoodle Soup, Chinese-Style
Serves 4
2 tsp sesame seeds
350g beef stir-fry strips
quarter teaspoon Chinese Five Spice
2 tsp coconut oil
2 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled 
1cm thick slice of fresh ginger, peeled
1 carrot, peeled, trimmed and cut into sticks
2 chestnut mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
500ml bone broth or beef stock
1 courgette, trimmed and sliced into thin strips using a vegetable peeler (if the slices are thick, cut them in half again lengthways)
pinch of salt
1-2 teaspoons of runny honey

First, gently heat the sesame seeds in a dry non-stick pan until slightly golden. Keep an eye on them, they can burn quickly. Tip them out onto a saucer and wipe the pan with a piece of kitchen paper. 

Sprinkle a good pinch of the Chinese Five Spice over the beef strips and put to one side for a couple of minutes. 

In a medium-sized saucepan, heat 1 tsp of the coconut oil and fry the white parts of the spring onions, carrot and mushrooms. Finely grate the ginger and garlic directly into the saucepan and stir, until everything is sizzling and fragrant. Immediately pour in the broth or stock and bring to a simmer. Drop in the courgette strips, add the rest of the Five Spice and a pinch of salt, and leave everything to cook slowly, until piping hot. 

To cook the beef, add the remaining teaspoon of the coconut oil to the pan you toasted the sesame seeds in. Over a medium/high heat, drop in the beef and stir-fry until browned - this will only take a minute or two. You might need to do this in batches so the meat browns and doesn't steam. Once you have all the beef in the pan, and it's browned on the outside and tender on the inside, drizzle over the honey. Allow to bubble up for a second or two and then turn off the heat. 

To serve, lift the veggies out of the soup with tongs and divide between warmed bowls. Pour over the broth and then top with the glazed beef, the reserved green slices of spring onion and a sprinkling of the toasted sesame seeds. Eat hot. 

Alterations for the Autoimmune Protocol: If you're on strict AIP, you'll need to avoid the Five Spice which contains some questionable spices that are initially eliminated. Instead, just add a little more ginger or garlic depending on your flavour preferences. You'll also need to skip the sesame seeds, but trust me, it's still great without them. 

I received a contribution towards the ingredients for this recipe, from Farmer's Choice, who also provided the meat. And pretty gorgeous it was, too. Do go and check out their website. 

Are you interested in paleo and AIP compliant curries, stir-fries, roasts, desserts and drinks? Check out my ebook SPICE, available to download in the Kindle store now, which contains over 90 recipes featuring herbs and spices on the autoimmune protocol.