Thursday, November 1, 2012

My One and Only Vegetable Soup

What better way to spend Halloween than an 8 mile run (in costume, no less!) and a bowl of vegetable soup? 
Keyboard Cat is finally incarnate!

This vegetable beef soup is a favorite in the Clayton household.  In fact, it's the only vegetable soup I've ever made.  You won't even find the search keywords "vegetable+soup+recipe" in my internet history.  I see no reason to mess with a good thing.  It has the following features: 

1. tastiness
2. ease of preparation
3. healthiness
4. freeze-ability
5. a secret ingredient - how fun and clandestine!

What more could you want? 

The only downfall is that it takes two days. The first day, you'll cook the beef. I crock-potted mine the night before while I slept, but you can also cook it in the oven for a few hours. You could also have pot roast, and then plan to make soup with the leftovers. Plan-overs - a bit too clever for me. 

So, on with the recipe: 

Part One: The Roast

Put a 2 lb roast in the crock pot and cover with V8. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours. If you're not down with the CP, cook it in the oven. First, heat 1 t oil in a skillet and brown both sides of the meat on the stove. Then put it in a baking dish and cover with the V8. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 for 2 1/2 - 3 hours. 

Part Two: The Soup
(Detailed recipe below. Let's just look at some pictures now.)

Start off by sweating onions and celery in olive oil in a BIG pot. 

 Then add potatoes, carrots, and limas...



Add water and two vegetable bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for 15 minutes. 

Then add in everything else (except the secret ingredient). That includes the cooled beef, cut into cubes, the precious beef juice, barley, corn, beans, tomato juice, and crushed tomatoes, along with oregano and pesto. 
 




Did you freeze corn??? If you did, put it to good use in this soup! Also, notice the canning camp tomato juice and crushed tomatoes. This is reason #283 why we spend three days sweating it out in a Kentucky kitchen. 

Stir everything together, bring it back to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. 
 

Now it's time for the secret ingredient..........PESTO! Preferably homemade (tends to have less oil), but store-bought works fine. The pesto definitely adds a je ne sais quoi to the flavor of the soup, and once you start adding it, you'll know when it's missing. 

Stir in the pesto, and enjoy bowl after bowl after bowl after bowl. And if you only want to enjoy bowl after bowl, freeze the rest. But make sure you pick out all the potatoes before freezing. They tend to get really mushing after defrosting. 

Here's the recipe in a more user-friendly format. 

Ingredients:

  • 1.5-2 lb chuck or shoulder roast
  • 4-5 six oz cans of spicy V8
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery with leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 large carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 4 c water
  • 1 c frozen fordhook lima beans
  • 1 c frozen corn (or canned)
  • 2 T uncooked barley
  • 1 - 15oz can beans (garbanzos, cannellini, red beans, black-eyed peas, or a mixture - essentially 2 cups of cooked beans) (I like a mixture of garbanzos and kidney.)
  • 1 qt tomato juice
  • 1 - 15oz can crushed tomatoes
  • meat juice from the pot roast
  • 1 t oregano
  • 1 t rosemary
  • 1-2 T pesto

Procedure:
.
Day 1
Crock Pot Method: Put the roast in the crock pot and cover with 2-3 cans of V8. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours. Take the meat out and refrigerate to cool. Also, save the precious juices. Put those in a tupperware container in the fridge as well to cool.
OR
Oven Method: Heat 1 t oil in a skillet and brown both sides of the meat on the stove. Then put it in a baking dish and cover with 2-3 cans of V8. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 for 2 1/2 - 3 hours. Take the roast out and refrigerate to cool. Save the juices here as well. Cool those in a tupperware container. 

Day 2
  1. Once the meat is cool, cut it up into bite-sized pieces. Skim off any congealed fat from the beef juices. 
  2. Sweat the onions and celery in olive oil in a big pot until soft. 
  3. Add carrot, potato, lima beans, water, and bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.
  4. Add all remaining ingredients (except the pesto). Don't forget the beef juices! Turn up the heat.
  5. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. 
  6. Stir in pesto before serving. 


This is a soup that just keeps getting better, so if you can stand it, let it sit on the stove for a while. Happy souping!