Vegetable Beef Soup

Toward the end of the week, I usually make soup out of whatever odds and ends are in the fridge.  I throw it all together, maybe round it out with canned tomatoes or a cup of dried peas. Voilá, I have an easy, economic, no-brainer lunch for the weekend.  Not so today.  Today, I craved something hearty, perhaps meat-based, and guaranteed to sooth.  So I made vegetable beef soup. I cannot remember where this recipe originally came from, but I pretty much make it as is.  I might throw in a handful of cabbage, or my current obsession, kale, but the soup is darn good as written. Why mess with perfection? My only caveat is that it takes some time to cook—It is the long, slow simmering process that melds the flavors together into something that tastes like cozy.  This makes about 8 servings.  Enjoy!

Olive oil
1 lb beef stew meat, cut into ½” chunks
ground celery seed (opt.)
Salt & pepper
2 large onions, diced & divided
6 c. water
2 c. chicken broth
2 bay leaves

2 carrots, sliced
4 stalks celery, sliced
2 medium white potatoes, diced
1 c. chopped parsley
1 large can diced tomatoes (with their juices)
1 small can diced tomatoes (with their juices)
15 oz can Northern beans, rinsed and drained
½ tsp. dried thyme, crumbled
2 pinches cinnamon

1 c. frozen peas
1 tsp. cider vinegar
Red wine (opt.)

Heat oil in soup pot over medium high heat. Season meat with salt, pepper, and ground celery seed. Brown beef in oil with half of the onions. Add water, stock and bay leaves. Bring to boil, turn heat down, and simmer for 90 min.

Add remaining ingredients, except for peas, vinegar and wine (if using). Add water, if necessary, to barely cover veggies. Return to a simmer. Cook until broth is no longer watery, about 2 hours.

Add peas, vinegar, and good pour of wine (about ½ c.), if using. Simmer 5 min. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve.

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