Fall time growing up always brought a few cooking traditions: Apple pie, A big pot of spaghetti sauce and meatballs, and a gigantic pot of beef and vegetable soup. My parents would make a huge pot of this soup most years, and it would be dinner (and lunch, and occasionally breakfast) for weeks on end. Toss in a spoonful of hot pepper vinegar, and it’s heaven in a bowl. With containers in the freezer, we could have hot delicious soup at a moment’s notice.
This soup uses a beef broth base but draws much flavor inspiration from a few particular vegetables. Specifically the cabbage, rutabaga and tomatoes are the most important for the flavor palette, and I consider them indispensable here. I suppose you could omit the beef products for a vegetarian offering, but I’ve never tried it.
Beef and Vegetable Soup
- Cubed beef for stewing
- A medium head of green cabbage (I used three quarters of a large head)
- One medium Rutabaga
- Potatoes (I used 4 large russets)
- Carrots (I used 4)
- Celery (I used 3 stalks)
- Frozen peas, green beans and corn (About a half bag each of the frozen stuff)
- Beef bouillon (I used three cubes)
- Garlic (I used three cloves)
- Cans of diced tomatoes (I used 2 8-oz cans)
- Oil, salt, pepper, bay leaves and other seasonings to taste
My parents might also add things like chopped up cauliflower and lima beans. Instead of putting those in the soup, I like to chop them up fresh and dump them right in the garbage where they belong. Your mileage may vary.
Put the oil, garlic and beef cubs in the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beef is browned on all sides. While that’s going, start to peel and chop your root vegetables. Add them into the pot in order that they need to cook. You can just start layering things, you don’t need to stir them all in. Peel and chop your carrots, potatoes and rutabagas. When the meat is cooked, toss those in on top. Now clean and chop your celery, and toss that in on top too.
After the celery, clean your cabbage and give it a rough chop. Cabbage is going to make up the bulk of your soup, so don’t skimp on it. On top of the cabbage I added my two cans of tomatoes, followed by the frozen vegetables. Again, you can just toss things in layers, there’s no need to stir it all up yet.
Finally I added two bay leaves, some salt, pepper, bouillon cubes, and then added water to cover. Bring the whole mixture to a boil. Simmer until the cabbage is translucent and the root veggies are all fork-tender.
Unlike the French Onion soup, there’s no real prep work necessary before you serve it. Ladle it into a bowl and put it in your mouth. I like a spoonful of the hot pepper vinegar to really brighten it up, but that’s completely optional (Dana likes it just fine without).
I’ve never tried canning this soup before. You’d definitely need a pressure canner of some variety, and you might want to under-cook it a little bit so it doesn’t completely turn to mush in the pressure canner. One day I’ll give it a shot and report back on how it turned out.