Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Beef Vegetable Soup

As the days grow shorter and the nights turn cold, my thoughts run to large steaming pots of stews and soups on top of the wood stove.  Here’s an old favorite, learned from a next-door neighbor’s mom (Mrs. Driggers) when I was a kid.  It still brings back memories.  You can use any kind of veggies you like (or happen to have) in it.  It’s especially good for using up leftover veggies or beef.  I hope you like it as much as we do.

Nothing makes you feel better than a hot bowl of homemade soup on a cold day!

4 tbl. Canola oil
1 ½ lbs. beef, cut into medium chunks (I use stew meat or any inexpensive cut of beef)
4 cups water
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. Marjoram
1 tsp. Thyme
good pinch or two of ground black pepper
pinch of salt (to taste)
28 oz. can of whole or stewed tomatoes
12 oz. can of whole or stewed tomatoes
4 celery stalks, chopped
4 medium carrots, cut into medium slices (not too thin)
1 large potato, cut into medium chunks
1 can whole kernel corn (or cup of fresh)
1 can cut green beans (or cup of fresh)
1 frozen bag (15 oz.) of mixed vegetables (I like the ones that have lima beans and English peas in them)
2 additional cups of water

·        Put Canola oil and beef chunks into a large Dutch oven over medium heat and cook until the meat is mostly browned (about 10 minutes)
·        Add 4 cups (or so) of water – enough to cover the meat about 1”
·        Add the onion, bay leaf, marjoram, thyme, salt & pepper and stir well
·        Increase heat to medium high and bring to a boil
·        Cover and reduce heat a bit to keep at a low boil for about 1 ½ hours, or until the meat is tender (you may need to add a little more water from time to time, if it seems to be getting too dry)
·        Using a knife & fork, tear the meat apart into smaller chunks (it should pretty much fall apart at this point)
·        Add the canned tomatoes and the rest of the vegetables (you can really use any kind of vegetables you like)
·        Add another 2 cups or so of water until it’s the consistency you want, cover and bring back to a slow simmer
·        Cook for at least another hour or two, stirring occasionally.  The longer it cooks, the better it tastes!  I usually make this an “all day project.”  Enjoy!

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