Thursday, December 13, 2012

Comfort Food

We're getting some cooler weather here in SoCalif.  I no longer say "cold" or "freezing" weather because that leads my sister in St. Louis to call me a liar since frequently she has to scrape ice off her windshield, which of course doesn't happen in my beach town :)  Anyway, hot soup appeals and a family favorite recipe always does the trick.  The base recipe is from the Betty Crocker cookbook my Grandma bought me when I got married.  Over the years I have put a lot of twists on it and it always turns out great.  The only time I ruined a pot was when I added too much salt--so I started cutting the salt from two teaspoons in the original recipe to one, and that worked fine--diners can add their own salt at the table.

Love my adorable gingerbread man spoon rest from Pier 1!

Hamburger Vegetable Soup:
1 to 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
4 cups water
3 medium carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 medium stalks celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 large potato, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces (about 1 cup)
1/2 of a red onion, chopped
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 tsp garlic salt
1 TBS steak sauce (like A-1)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp pepper
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/8 tsp fennel seeds
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
2 small cans tomato sauce (or one small can tomato paste)

Brown ground beef in the bottom of a large stock pot, drain off fat and return to pot.  Add all the vegetables, water, seasonings, tomatoes and sauce, and stir to combine.  Cover and heat on high until it comes to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.   Ladle into bowls and serve immediately.  This recipe serves about 6-8.

I put shredded parmesan cheese into the bottom of the bowls before ladling in the soup so it gets all melted, and serve with sourdough toast (Ralph's grocery store has a rosemary and olive oil loaf that is to die for!).  Be prepared to want seconds :)   Cool and refrigerate leftovers, or freeze for later.

Different twists I have used are to add an Italian link sausage or two, which I cook separately and then chop up and add to the pot.  You could also use ground turkey instead of beef.  Almost any fresh vegetable I have on hand I also throw in the pot, such as yellow squash or zucchini.  I like to use the roasted frozen corn from Trader Joe's, it adds a smokiness we like.  Note that I use very little onion--usually I find recipes too heavy on onion, so I cut it way down.  I like the red/purple onions for the color.  Adjust seasonings to your taste, or spice it up with red pepper flakes or chili powder if you like it hot.  Enjoy!


Stephanie said...

20* this morning. Definitely soup weather. When I lived in CA and it got "cold" I'd make soup. The day I made the soup it got hot. I used to judge the next day's temp by my soup making!

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

Thanks, the recipe looks wonderful! It's soup weather here today. One more thing to search for at TJ's. Yay!!

Shay said...

While it's way too hot down here at the moment for soup I've bookmarked this for our cooler weather in say 5 or so months.

It looks divine!

julieQ said...

Well, just yummy sounding! I need to go to the store! How nice of you to share.

Kathie said...

Sounds yummy!

McIrish Annie said...

We are having COLD weather here in CT. will give this go this weekend. got some apple smoked sausage in the freezer which might be interesting!

One Minnesota Quilter said...

I might even try this tonight. Thanks for the recipe.


Candace said...

YUM! I love this soup, Annie - and your twists make it so special! I think I'll have to whip up a batch this weekend!

Janet O. said...

Sounds good to me. I bet DH will love it!

Marg said...

I'm bookmarking this one for winter which is about 6 months away. That sounds yummy.

Kate said...

Yum! Hot soup is definitely a cold weather favorite.