It is (I hope) nearing the end of soup season, but it's cold and rainy here this week, so I thought I'd share one more soup recipe with you. You may already have a killer vegetable-beef soup recipe, but in the case that you don't, I submit mine to you. It actually took me a few tries and reading through/testing several recipes to get this recipe right. It's such a simple, basic, and iconic dish, but like fried okra, success eluded me for a while. Actually, success may still be eluding me on the fried okra, but that's another story for another day. On our last snow day, though, I think I pretty much figured it out. I actually came up with a good recipe, which makes me feel pretty excited.
We all have our own ideas of what goes into vegetable-beef soup, so feel free to change as you see fit.
Vegetable Beef Soup
1 lb lean ground beef
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 Tb vegetable oil
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1- 28 oz can diced tomatoes in their sauce (or 1 qt home canned tomatoes)
1- 8 oz can tomato sauce
1- 16 oz bag frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1/2 cup uncooked macaroni
2 medium sized red skinned potatoes, cubed
1 1/2- 2 qt. beef broth
Freshly ground black pepper
In a large pot or dutch oven, heat your oil over medium to medium-high. Add the beef, onion, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook until onion is softened and beef is cooked. Add in the tomatoes, their juice, and the can of tomato sauce. Cook for a minute. Add in the vegetables, potatoes, and broth. Bring to a boil and boil 15-20 minutes or until potatoes and vegetables are tender.
Meanwhile, bring a medium- large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Salt the water and cook the pasta until al dente. Add to the soup at the end of the cooking time. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
- The soup got better the longer that it sat, so feel free to make this in advance and refrigerate or even freeze it.
- I wrote myself a note to watch the salt level. If you don't drain/rinse your pasta and just use a slotted spoon to add it to the soup, that will add some salt as well. Since people have different salt sensitivities, taste and season to your own liking. Is "liking" when used that way a Southern thing?
- As I mentioned before, this is the first real breakthrough success I've had with vegetable beef soup, so it'll likely be a work in progress. I made myself a note that I might try adding some tomato paste in with the beef and onion and cook a minute, just before adding the other tomatoes.
- I also made myself a note that I might have missed the texture and even flavor that lima beans add.
- From experience and probably various TV cooks, I have learned to cook the pasta separately, and that it seems to expand to approximately 237 times its original volume when you add it to a soup and let it sit in your soup, so that when you come back to the soup, it seems like it's been overtaken by noodles. Cooking it separately and keeping it separate will help solve that problem. If you don't do this, be prepared to add extra liquid.
- This is great served with cornbread!