Saturday, October 1, 2011

Vegetable Beef Soup

With the beautiful fall weather we are having this weekend I wanted to show you how I prepare one of my favorite cool/cold weather foods.

  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes
  • Green beans
  • Okra
  • Fresh ground pepper/salt
  • Stew beef chunks or ground beef
  • Beef broth approx. 4 cups
  • 1 cup cooked barley

I like to use my cast iron skillet to first braise the beef.  I use just enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of the skillet, and heat till oil is very hot (not smoking but very hot).

Notice the pan is only lightly oiled.

Once skillet is hot I lightly brown the meat on all sides.  While meat is browning sprinkle with salt, pepper, and fresh minced garlic. If you are cooking a large amount you can cook the meat in two batches so you have room to work in the skillet.

I have found if I only lightly brown the meat during this stage it comes out more tender at the end.

Notice the broth that is being created, it will give the soup a good flavor.  After meat is lightly browned on all sides pour into a large pot or dutch oven.

Next you will want to cook the chopped onion and celery till clear and soft.

I used a little broth from the meat to cook the onion and celery in.

Last you want to put all the vegetables in the pot.  I did reserve the okra for the last 30 minutes of cooking so it would not be too mushy.

Give it a good stir and if it needs more liquid then add beef broth/stock till you are happy with the level.  Bring to boil then lower heat and simmer for 1-3 hours.  The longer it cooks the more flavorful the soup will be.

This is truly an old country recipe that has been around as long as people have been growing gardens!  You can always make a double batch and freeze half for another night.  This time, as a last minute thought, I boiled a cup of barley and tossed it in right before serving just to add a little something extra to it.  You can also use ground beef instead of stew meat if that's what you have on hand. I baked a pan of cornbread to serve on the side. Like I said this is truly a old country favorite!

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