Vegetable Beef Soup

This is not the most glamorous meal I’ve ever made. But when I was looking for something that would be hearty without being too heavy for a quiet Friday night, this definitely did the trick—and then some. At first I wasn’t sure whether I was going to share this recipe…I mean, it’s vegetable beef soup. Doesn’t everyone have a recipe for that? Well, when searching for a recipe online I was surprised to find that locating one with all of the components I was looking for was no easy task. Maybe it’s because everyone assumes everyone else already knows how to make it? Um, I didn’t. My very simple criteria for a veggie beef soup included two main things:

  • Chunks of meat
  • Frozen veggies

As much as I love chopping—probably way more than is normal—I was looking for something that would minimize the amount of time between making a homemade winter meal and plopping my bum on the couch. Plus, my grandma and my mom always made their beef soups with frozen veggies so I was searching with a sense of nostalgia, too.

Finally, I ended up combining two recipes: One from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything and one from a special issue (all soups!) of Better Homes and Gardens. The first included chunks of meat (yes, please!), but freshly cut veggies (normally that’d totally be my jam, but I was on the hunt for a shortcut). The latter included frozen veggies (score!), but ground meat (not this time).

Once I hit Whole Foods and got into the kitchen, what ended up happening was a beautiful thing. As homey and as basic as this recipe may seem, I channeled a little Ina Garten (who, by the way, didn’t have a vegetable beef soup recipe last I checked) and turned the volume way up by using high-quality ingredients. Here’s a peek:

  • Lean organic grass-fed meat
  • Organic frozen veggies with carrots, peas, corn, string beans, and baby lima beans
  • A healthy glug of merlot
  • Chunks of creamy Yukon gold potatoes

The result satisfied every item on my checklist and much, much more.

Vegetable Beef Soup

Ingredients
Grapeseed oil
1 ½ pounds lean beef stew meat (even if it’s already in chunks be sure to cut down to bite-sized pieces)
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
32 oz container low-sodium beef broth
28 oz can diced tomatoes
12 oz package frozen mixed vegetables
3 small Yukon gold potatoes, leave skin on & slice into bite-sized pieces
¼ cup red wine
salt & pepper

Preparation
Heat about 1 Tbsp of oil in a large pot on medium-high heat & swirl to coat bottom. Salt and pepper meat. Add beef in batches (be sure not to crowd) turning to brown on all sides. Once browned, transfer beef from pot to a plate and add next batch (I did it in three batches). Add additional oil as necessary. Once you remove the final batch, scrape brown bits off bottom of the pot with wooden spoon and pour out with accumulated fat. Return pot to heat.

Add onion and celery. Sautee until onion softens, about 5 to 8 minutes. Return beef to pot. Add the broth, tomatoes, frozen vegetables, potatoes, and wine. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. Salt & pepper to taste.

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