October 13, 2014

Vegetable Soup From My Past

When I was in high school, my friend's grandma would always make vegetable soup as soon as the weather cooled off. She didn't have a specific recipe. It always tasted slightly different each time she made it, but somehow always the same too. I wish I would have taken the opportunity back then to learn from her first hand how to make it, but alas, my sixteen year old brain had other things to worry about. I've been searching the mighty interwebs and Pinterest for a while, looking for recipes that sound similar. None were perfect so I improvised and combined a few different recipes until I came up with one I like. Oooohh and I hit the nail on the head. It was like I time traveled back to 2004. Delightful and warm and cozy and scrumptious. Here's my take on a pot of vegetable soup.

1 lb beef stew meat
2 tbsp olive oil
flour, for dredging 
2-3 Celery ribs, chopped
1/2 of a small onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
32 oz chicken broth 
1/2 c. frozen lima beans
1/2 c. frozen corn kernels 
1/2 c. chopped carrots
3 Yukon gold potatoes, chopped
1/2 c. frozen green beans 
1/2 c. frozen whole okra
1 can diced tomatoes with juice
1-2 tbsp. tomato paste 
Garlic Powder

I started out by cutting beef stew meat into much smaller pieces than it comes in at the store. The cubes of meat are so huge that they take forever to get tender in the soup and I just don't have time to wait seven hours to eat my food. I cut each cube into 3-4 smaller pieces. Season the meat with salt, pepper and garlic powder, and then dredge in flour. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a dutch oven on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the meat to the pan and cook until browned on all sides (don't worry about cooking the meat through, it'll have time to finish cooking later). Remove beef to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Add chopped celery and onion to the hot pan and cook 3-5 minutes until tender. Add minced garlic to the pan and saute one minute, stirring continuously so garlic does not burn. Add chicken broth to deglaze pan, scraping up all the browned bits from the beef and vegetables. Return beef to the pan and simmer for 30-45 minutes to start tenderizing the beef. 

Once the soup has simmered for awhile, start adding whatever other types of vegetables you want in your soup! To the celery and onions already in, I added lima beans, corn, green beans, whole okra, tomatoes, carrots and potatoes (let me be clear for a second and admit that I didn't actually measure out these vegetables. I just dumped some in the pot until it looked like enough of each. The 1/2 c. directions are just an estimate...) The key for me though is tomato paste...that's what gives the soup its signature flavor and consistency. I added a tablespoon or two until the broth thickened up to where I wanted it. Cover the pot and simmer all your vegetables until they are tender and you're ready to eat. I let mine cook for an additional hour once the vegetables went in. If you like your veggies al dente, just cook it for 30 minutes instead. 

I served my soup with a side of piping hot cornbread. We ate this soup all week long and it got better each day! Enjoy! 

No comments:

Post a Comment