Only in Chicago...

After my Celebrate Chicago dinner for my cooking group gals, I had some left over Italian Beef. It was nice soup weather today with Chicago's gray cloudy sky and cool air so I transformed my italian beef leftovers into a hearty soup.
For those outside of Chicago, an italian beef sandwich consists of thin slices of beef served inside italian bread or some other crusty bread (often soaked), which has been cut lengthwise and into individual portions. Even though it is served on Italian bread sliced lengthwise, this is the only thing it has in common with sub sandwiches. Italian beef is made using cuts of beef from the sirloin butt or the top/bottom round. It's wet roasted in a broth with garlic, oregano and spices until medium rare or medium. The roast is then cooled, then sliced very thinly ("shaved") using a deli slicer, and then served dripping wet after a reintroduction to its reheated beef cooking broth, topped off with sauteed green bell peppers, or hot Chicago-style " giardiniera" peppers (mix of Serrano peppers, carrot, cauliflower, celery, olives, and oil/spices).With my leftovers, I made my experimental italian beef soup which turned out wonderfully!

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped white onions
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 -2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2-3 cups italian beef broth
1 lb Cooked Italian beef
1 cup sliced cremini mushroom
1/4 cup caramelized onions
3-4 springs of fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup half & half
2 teaspoons water + 2 teaspoons cornstarch (slurry)
1 1/2 cups cooked dry pasta (cavatappi)
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables

In a pot, saute chopped onions and minced garlic in olive oil.
Sprinkle the flour over the onion/garlic mixture and stir to create a roux.
Slowly add broth to the pot and stir to thicken slightly.
Add the cooked italian beef, mushrooms and caramelized onions.
Add the fresh thyme leaves.
Bring to a boil for 10-15 minutes.
Add the cooked pasta into the pot; stir.
Remove from heat.
Add the half & half, slurry & frozen mixed vegetables.
Serve with your choice of bread or crackers.

I served my hearty soup with melba toast squares.

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