I am working hard on becoming more of an intuitive cook. This practise lends itself well to the making of soup. I mean, what is soup but a bunch of ingredients and water? I know my Great Grandmothers wouldn't have given the making of soup a second thought. They would have just done it!
They were hardy women who knew how to feed and clothe eight kids on a miner's pay....warshed our clothes on a warshboard....ever' day....The work we done was hard, at night we'd sleep cause we were....tard...
Oh wait...that's somebody else's story...but you get the drift. I shouldn't have to give soup as much thought as I do. So, instead of googling a recipe, I did what felt right....and dang was it good!
Unfortunately I took minimal pictures, but I think it's alright. I trust that you will be able to make this soup, just as well as I did. If you don't have some of the ingredients I used...figure something else out. It's okay! I promise. Lets be pioneer women...errr....you know, the old school kind...not the super fancy blogger who does take pictures of every blooming step. I'm just saying...I think we can pull up our big girl panties and just follow directions...sorry...sometimes I think we don't need pictures of every single step.
Moving on...The quantities I am giving here are what I used...don't fret them too much. It's okay to use more or less of something, I promise.
These are my pepper chunks. I was just using them for flavor.
The soup mix I used. It was awesome. Imagine...many types of beans, lentils, barley and GROATS of all things.
See!! Looks good, huh?
Really Good Beef and Vegetable Soup
1 1/4 lb. Chuck cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 C. Seasoned flour. I used some garlic salt and pepper for seasoning
1 onion, diced
5 medium sized carrots, cut into coins
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 8 oz can tomato sauce, mine was seasoned with basil, garlic and oregano
Few dashes Worcestershire Sauce...don't go crazy here.
Chicken Base...about 2 Tbl. You could use bouillon cubes if that's what you've got
Parmesan rind (I was seriously being fancy. But, I love that my grocery store sells what is basically garbage...and I bought it and loved it!)
1/2 Anaheim Pepper cut into large pieces...I happened to have 1/2 of an Anaheim pepper...but I absolutely loved the flavor it imparted to the soup. I didn't want to actually eat pieces of pepper, I just wanted it's essence! That's the reason for the big chunks, you're going to fish them out at the end.
1 1/2 Cups Mixed beans and grains Soup mix (not seasoned, just the beans and grains)
Water...a bunch of it....You'll have to use your judgement on this one. You want to have your pot filled about 2 inches from the top.
salt and pepper
In a large pot (about 6 quarts), heat up several tablespoons of oil over medium high heat. I would say 4 Tbs. probably. When the pan is good and hot, take your beef cubes that you have rolled around in your seasoned flour, a piece at a time, and shake off the excess flour. Then put them in the oil. Don't crowed the beef. You want to cook the beef in batches, the reason for this, is you want your beef to brown and get awesome...not steam it which is what you'll do if you put the entire batch in at once. Brown each piece, more or less, on all sides. When browned, remove to a plate. Finish browning all the beef. If you have to add a touch more oil to the pan, go ahead.
Notice all the browned goodness in the bottom...this is flavor. Add some water to the bottom of your pan to prevent the browned stuff from burning. Start filling the pot with ingredients. Add the onion, carrots and celery and browned meat. Throw in a couple pieces of Parmesan rind...this is going to add some serious flavor and thicken the soup a bit. You will pull these out when cooking is done. Throw in your pieces of pepper and your beans and grains mix. Add your tomato sauce and a few dashes of Worcestershire Sauce. Now fill up the pot with the rest of the water. Leave about 2 inches up at the top. I would say, don't really season it with salt at this point. Let it simmer for a bit and then taste it. You don't want your soup to be too salty!!
Bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer with the lid on and slightly ajar for about 2 1/2 hours, or until your beans are nice and tender. The bean package told me 1 1/2 hours...apparently I like my beans more tender than they do. Make sure to check the seasoning level. You don't want bland soup...but at the same time, you don't want soup that's too salty. You want it just right.
Devour the tastiest soup ever! Serve with The Best Drop Biscuits and you will be in bliss. My husband swore his eternal devotion to me again last night over this supper. It's always good to wield your power...but only for good!!! Although...I would like to have a brand new sewing machine....hmmmm....no, no. Power for good, not evil.
Thanks for reading!