Monday, March 21, 2011

Vegetable Beef Soup

An old adage I like to keep firmly in mind is "Cook once, eat twice."  Planned-overs are a great way to stretch the time and stretch the grocery budget while you are at it.

The other day, we had pot roast for dinner.  When I take the time to roast any kind of meat, I like to make a large amount. I either purchase the largest roast I can find, or buy two.   It's a great way to shorten prep time later in the week.  Leftover roast makes great Beefy Noodles, BBQ Beef Sandwiches, Beef Nachos, Shepherds Pie, or lots of other options.  This week we had a couple of cold rainy days, so I made a giant pot of soup with the leftover roast.  I served soup for dinner, we ate it the next day for lunch, plus I froze what was left for one more meal.  How's that for streeeeetching?! *TIP - if I know I want some meat left over, when I serve the roast, I will reserve some of the meat before it ever hits the table.

Home made soup is one of life's simple pleasures.  Chock-full of hearty goodness, it bubbles on the stove all afternoon scenting our activities with anticipation.  The simple motions of chopping, simmering, stirring, adding an extra dash of salt or seasoning are soothing. The finished product is comfort at it's finest.  Serve it up with some bread, maybe a salad and dinner is done!

Beef Vegetable Soup

This recipe is variable in just about every way.  You can't break it.  Change it up to suit your families tastes. . Soup is a great way to use up the limp celery at the bottom of the vegetable crisper or whatever else is hiding in your fridge.  If you don't have leftover roast, try using stew meat.

2 onion, diced small
3 stalks celery, diced small
3 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil

3-4 cups cooked, diced/shredded beef.
8-10 cups assorted chopped vegetables
        I used: 12 ounce bag frozen peas & carrots
                    1  quart green beans (canned from last year's garden)
                    10 ounce bag lima beans
                    1.5 cups of corn
                   1-2 cups finely chopped cabbage
4 cups tomato juice
       V8, canned tomato puree, or straight tomato juice all work here.  I used tomato/vegetable juice canned last summer from our garden produce.
4 cups low sodium beef stock
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 generous tsp rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp salt(more or less) Be careful if your beef stock is not low sodium.
1 tsp black pepper

On medium heat, saute diced onion and pepper for 10 minutes or until softened.  Add garlic.  Stir and continue cooking just for a minute or until garlic is fragrant.  Turn up heat, pour in tomato juice, stock, meat, veggies and seasonings.  Bring to a boil.  Turn heat down and simmer on low for 3-4 hours.  Taste for seasonings.

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