Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Vegetable Beef Soup


This weekend my husband and I are making the trip home to see my family for the holidays. While waiting, we are creating a few traditions of our own. This is the perfect recipe for a pre-Christmas night: a bowl of vegetable beef soup and watching A Christmas Story as the snowflakes drift down outside. Just the sight of snow makes me want to snuggle, so this is how we spent Sunday evening. He had found the movie The Matrix (we have the DVD) showing on one of the channels, but I prodded him to switch to the "Christmas" DVD. (He does need the occasional break from watching science-fiction, action films so this soup and movie duo was fitting.)

This recipe is inspired by my grandmother who would often make vegetable beef soup when we would visit and, also, send a jar home with us. I would eat it for days as it is my favorite food. She makes it super spicy, which is to be expected as her kitchen is a training ground for increasing Capsicum tolerance. As a kid her spicy soup would burn my mouth but chili peppers can be so addictive. She grows her own peppers to use in this soup, but I have taken the easy way out here and used chili flakes. 

Ingredients
1 pound extra lean ground beef
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 large russet potato, cubed (2 cups)
2 carrots, sliced (2 cups)
3 celery stalks, sliced (1 cup)
32 ounces low sodium vegetable cocktail
Juice from 1/2 of a lemon
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, finely chopped 
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves 
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste 
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen peas

To garnish: Chopped fresh flat leaf parsley 

Directions 
In a large pot brown beef over medium heat. Crumble beef with a spatula as it cooks.

Add garlic, onion, potato, carrots and celery; sauté for 10 minutes. Add vegetable cocktail, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, chili flakes, salt and pepper to the pot; cover and simmer for 50 minutes.

Turn off heat and remove bay leaves and thyme sprigs from the pot. Add corn and peas; stir to combine. The corn and peas will heat through quickly.

Top with parsley before serving. 

Serves 6-8 

© 2009 Madame Monaco All Rights Reserved

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