(I’m ShaSha to my Grandkids…..Kelly started it…..23 years ago!)
This is my beautiful granddaughter, Michael. She is about to graduate from Red Mountain High School, but she is still my little munchkin. She has a bad cold, and when she asked if I had any soup at my house, what do you think I did? She likes lots of them, but Vegetable beef is her favorite. I really love making this, but it is kind of hard to write down, because the SECRET of any good soups is the broth. In this one I do beef broth as the base. And I’ve told you before that I make my own. I buy the soup bases at Costco or Smart and Final.
If you’ve never tried these before, you might need to practice a little to get the flavors just right. But a good rule of thumb is 1 tsp. of the paste to 1 cup water. Taste it! Learn your flavors. These mixes can get VERY salty! *****OLD LADY COOKING TIP****: If your soup is just about done, and you taste it and it’s too salty, simply pour off half the broth and put an equal amount of water back in. That usually does the trick. I just can never stand to throw out a recipe I’ve worked hard on, so I like to come up with “fixes” for my mistakes. (and I make plenty!)
Now that you know the secret to good soups, here is my basic recipe. You can add any veggies you like, and even noodles and different meats, such as pork or chicken.
VEGETABLE BEEF SOUP
1-2 lbs. beef, such as sirloin *****OLD LADY COOKING TIP***: you can use a cheap cut of beef, such as Chuck, but you will need to add an hour to the cooking, as that is the only way to get the bites tender. I often go in the mornings to the grocery stores and look in the meat dept. for the “marked down” section. Lots of times you can pick up a nice little steak that is just the right size for soups for 1/2 price. I freeze them so that I always have meat for soup.
Now add one cup each of the “Trinity”: chopped onion , chopped carrot, chopped celery. Some snobby cooks call it Mirepoix–(mere pwaa). Some cultures call it Sofrito (depending on your country, it often has peppers and other spices.) But here at the Burleson house it is just plain old carrot, onion, celery!
Chop the meat in little pieces and dredge it in seasoned flour (salt, pepper, garlic powder). Start the meat cooking in a skillet, browning slightly. NOTE: this step is also optional, as you can save a few calories by just starting the meat in a saucepan in a couple of cups of broth.
When the meat begins to be tender, add it to a large soup pot and add the veggies. Here is where you can be creative if you like zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli, cauliflower, bell pepper….whatever! (But be careful of the pungent ones unless you really like that flavor. )
After about 1/2 hour, add chopped potato, and I just dump in a package of frozen mixed vegetables. Add some more broth, (about 2 cups), and a 15 1/2 oz can of crushed tomatoes. Cook 1/2 hour more, taste for seasoning, and lap it up! Or, give it to your Granddaughter when she’s sick…..