Beef & Veggie Soup

Original recipe by Jerica Cadman

(Picture would have gone here, but we ate it all before we took one…)

2 lbs beef stew meat, thawed, rinsed, patted dry, and sprinkled with sea salt and pepper
Approximately 4 lbs total of combination of seasonal veggies. We like this combo:
1-2 tomatoes, diced
1 zucchini squash
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb okra
3 carrots
2 ribs celery
1/2 lb green beans
2-3 small potatoes, skin on
(1-2 cups cooked beans if desired)

Coarsely chop all veggies according to preference.

Heat 2 Tbs. cooking fat (i.e. lard) in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Sear meat in small batches until outside turns golden brown. (This step can be omitted if you’re in a hurry, but it adds a lovely charred flavor to the meat.) Don’t worry about whether the meat is “cooked” inside–you’re just going for the caramelized flavor. Keep the skillet nice and hot, and stir often to prevent sticking. Add more cooking fat as necessary.

Place all veggies and meat in a crock pot or heavy bottomed pot on the stove. Sprinkle 1-2 Tbs. sea salt over mixture. Add about 4 cups of water. Hint: the water shouldn’t quite cover the mixture, as the veggies will break down and release their own juices (i.e. more flavorful broth). If you add too much water, you will have a watery-tasting soup. If you want a more liquid soup, use broth instead of water, and add an extra cup or two of broth. If you prefer a more tomatoey soup, add some tomato sauce (or more tomatoes and less liquid).

Crock pot: Cook on high for 2-3 hours, until meat, potatoes, and carrots are tender, but not falling apart.

Stove top: Bring to boil and reduce heat to gentle simmer. Cook for about 3 hours until meat, potatoes, and carrots are tender, but not falling apart.

Serve with crackers, cheese, hard rolls, noodles, or rice. Freezes very nicely.

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