A few days ago I posted that, as one of the things on my to-do-list, I was making a pot of soup. I'm an all-seasons soup eater -- winter, spring, summer, fall. I prefer the sorts of soups that can make a meal, and don't need much else other than a few crackers, or some cornbread or a slice of home-made bread, and something to drink.
One of the comments on that post was a suggestion (not really a request - just a suggestion) that I share some recipes. So, as I was mentally flailing about for a post subject, I decided to share the recipe for Quick Hamburger Veggie Soup. My friend, Elaine, gave me the basic recipe some years ago, and I've doctored it up to suit myself. Pictured is the pot of soup that was simmering on my stove, readying itself for a late lunch.
Because I use canned vegetables, this soup takes only a bit over 30 minutes to make. However, to those who are on a low-sodium diet: you may substitute fresh vegetables for the canned ones in the recipe to lower the salt content. Fresh veggies should be pre-cooked to the 'done' stage in a microwave oven or on the stove top, so that may add a bit to the cooking time.
Elaine's Quick Hamburger Veggie Soup
* 1 t. olive oil
* 1 pound (more or less) very lean ground beef . I generally use the not more than 4% fat variety. If you use regular ground beef, drain all fat after the meat has browned and before adding anything else.
* 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
* 2 to 4 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped, or to taste (optional, if you don't like/tolerate garlic)
* 1-28 oz. can diced tomatoes with liquid (I use Hunt's brand) - if using fresh tomatoes, about 4 cups, peeled, seeded and chopped
* 1 quart water
* 1/4 cup dried green bell pepper (if using fresh pepper, about 1/2 cup)
* 1/4 cup dried red bell pepper (ditto)
* Fresh or dried herbs (optional) I generally use 1/2 of a bay leaf, a pinch or two of dried thyme and marjoram, and a palm-full of dried parsley flakes
* Generous pinch of dried hot pepper flakes or 1/4 t. ground Cayenne (optional)
* Freshly ground black pepper to taste
* 1- 14 oz. can Italian Flat Green Beans, drained and rinsed (fresh beans, appx. 2 cups, cooked)
* 1- 15 oz. can LeSeur Baby Carrots, with liquid (tiny fresh carrots, appx. 2 cups, cooked, with 1/2 cup cooking liquid)
Please note that there is no additional salt in this recipe. If using fresh vegetables instead of canned ones, you may add salt to taste or as desired.
To make the soup:
Heat a heavy stock pot or dutch oven (at least 4-quart capacity), then add olive oil to thinly coat the bottom. Add ground meat and cook, stirring frequently, until browned. (If using regular ground beef, stop here and drain all visible fat.) Add chopped onions and garlic and stir until semi-translucent. If using garlic, do not let it brown; it will become bitter.
Add tomatoes and water, bell peppers, herbs, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Add green beans and carrots. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes or, if using fresh vegetables, until vegetables are tender. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
Makes about three and one-half quarts soup.