Homemade Vegetable Beef Soup
My mother made a version of this when I was a kid growing up on the Northwest Side of Chicago. I can remember coming home after playing out in the snowstorms with frozen limbs to a nice hot bowl of this soup. I took my mothers original recipe and made some changes and additions to come up with my own. One of the changes was to make my own beef stock using beef shank and shin marrow bones. The stock really makes the broth very rich and hearty. I substituted frozen mixed vegetables for fresh and added celery. This is an all day event if you make the stock the same day. This is one of my favorite recipes inspired by my mom.
Ingredients for the stock:
4-5 pounds beef bones (shank, shin bones with marrow, soup bones)
6 -8 sprigs fresh thyme
1 handful Italian parsley
2 bay leaves
3-4 large carrots halved
4-6 celery ribs halved
2-3 large onions unpeeled and quartered
1 tsp ground pepper
6 cloves whole garlic
In a large stockpot combine all the stock ingredients with enough water to cover. Bring to a light simmer and let simmer for 4-6 hours replacing water as it cooks off. The longer this simmers the more flavor it will have. I find homemade stock makes the soup richer in flavor. When the stock is done drain it first through a colander into another large stockpot or container. Press down on the mixture to force all the liquid out of the vegetables. For a clearer stock, pour the stock again through a colander lined with cheesecloth. I don’t find this necessary but you are welcome to. Refrigerate the stock overnight to solidify the fat on top. Scrape the fat off the top and discard. Store the stock in mason jars or containers that can be filled and frozen if necessary. The stock will have a jelly like consistency.
Tip: Make sure to pick the bones clean and take out the marrow. This is a delicacy; very rich flavor. I also eat the tendon and bits of meat left over; a nice treat during the process.
3-4 pound chuck roast fat and membrane removed cut into thick bite sized chunks.
Homemade beef stock or store bought.
2 pounds peeled baby carrots
2 pounds red potatoes cut to even bite size pieces
6-7 ribs cellery
50 ounces chopped tomatoes (Pomi Brand)
1 pound green beans snapped in half
3 large leeks with greens roughly chopped
1 small to medium package corn thawed to room temperature
1 small to medium package peas thawed to room temperature
2-3 tbsps beef base or 5-6 beef bouillon cubes.
3-4 packs Sazon Goya
5 cloves fresh garlic through a press or minced
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme.
Heat a large dutch oven to medium high. Drizzle enough olive oil to coat. Brown the beef cubes in batches and remove to a bowl to avoid overcrowding the pan. When all the meat has been browned and removed de-glaze with a bit of red wine or water (1/2 cup). Pour the liquid into a large stock pot and add the beef, celery, leeks, garlic, thyme, beef base, sazon goya and 25 ounces chopped tomatoes. Add all of your beef stock and turn the heat to high. Stir constantly until the heat of the soup comes up. Cook uncovered for 45 minutes at just under medium heat ( vigorous simmer). Add the carrots, peas and corn, water to cover and turn the heat back up to medium high until you reach a vigorous simmer. Turn down the heat to maintain this simmer until the carrots are about 75% done. Add potatoes and turn up the heat to medium high until you reach a vigorous simmer. Turn down heat to maintain your simmer. The soup is done when the potatoes are done but not mushy. Be sure to regulate your seasoning adding more beef base, salt, black pepper as needed.
Serve with hunks of crusty bread to soak up the valuable broth. This recipe produces a lot of soup. Give some away to friends and eat it over a few days. Freezes well.