This vegetable soup includes many of the vegetables one finds at the local grocery store or farmers market in autumn. Soup can be served for lunch or dinner and is easy to make. Its warmth is truly comforting and homemade always tastes better than canned.
A large batch made over the weekend can be divided into containers and frozen for quick week day meals. You can add noodles, dumplings, or rice to the soup when you reheat it. Or you can serve the soup with crackers and other breads.
Vegetable soup goes well with sandwiches such as grilled cheese and egg salad. While this recipe calls for the addition of meat it can be left out. Mushrooms or eggplant could be substituted. If you like tofu, which I don’t, you could use it instead of meat.
The recipe is flexible. The amount it makes depends on the ingredients you use and the size of the pot. As written it will make at least 6 servings.
- 1 to 2 lbs. of hamburger, leftover roast or other cut of beef (or the same amount of eggplant diced or sliced mushrooms)
- 4 tablespoons of butter, cooking oil or bacon fat
- 1 small head of cabbage or a bag of Brussels sprouts
- ½ cup of broccoli
- ½ cup or more of green beans
- 5 large potatoes, peeled and diced
- 4 large carrots, cleaned and diced
- 1 medium to large onion, diced
- 1 cup of diced celery
- 2 cans of stewed tomatoes or about 2 cups of fresh chopped tomatoes or canned tomato juice
- 2 or more cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 teaspoons or more of dry beef bullion
- 3 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
- 3 teaspoons of paprika or crushed red pepper to taste
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- ½ cup of red wine (optional)
You will need a large pot that has a good fitting lid. It should be at least as large as a Dutch oven.
Prepare all of the vegetables and set them aside. If you use Brussels sprouts instead of cabbage cut them in half. Cut the cabbage into thin slices. The broccoli should be cut apart in pieces about an inch or so in size. If you use fresh green beans trim the ends and cut them in half. The tomatoes should be diced. You can use a couple large cans of tomato juice instead of canned or fresh tomatoes. Don’t drain the canned tomatoes. The potatoes can be kept in a bowl covered with water until needed so they will not turn brown, drain before adding to the soup.
Heat the fat (butter, cooking oil or bacon fat) in the pan. It should be about ¼ of an inch deep. Add the hamburger or cut up leftover beef to the hot fat. Stir and cook over medium heat until the meat has browned. Do the same if you substitute eggplant or mushrooms for the meat.
Begin adding the vegetables. I usually begin with the onions and garlic and end with the cabbage. Add more fat if needed. You are going to sweat, not brown the vegetables. Stir them around in the melted butter or fat for about 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes and juice or canned tomato juice. Add the bullion, Worcestershire sauce, paprika or red pepper and about 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Add the wine if you are using it. After the soup has cooked a while you will taste it and adjust the seasonings.
Simmer covered on low heat for at least an hour or until all the vegetables are tender. Check it often and add water if needed.
Noodles or other pasta can be added while the soup is simmering. Cook until they are done. I usually add noodles when I reheat the soup the second day to stretch it. Half a pound of pasta is plenty.
¼ to ½ cup of rice can be added with the vegetables. Cook until the rice is done.
Homemade flat bread, muffins, biscuits or other breads go well with this soup. Rye bread is very good with it.