It's other name is "Leftover Soup". You'll see why. As usual, recipe first, followed by notes and variations. Don't be intimidated by the ingredient list and instructions; most if it is literally 'add this next'.
1 tablespoon of oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup sweet and hot peppers, chopped mixed
1/2 cup of celery
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
1 1/2 pounds of ground beef
2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups of beef stock or broth
3 (11.5 ounce) cans of original or spicy V-8, or tomato juice (optional)
1 (14.5 ounce) can of diced tomatoes
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups carrots, diced (about 2 large)
2 cups of corn/1 - 2 cans of corn
2 cups of cut green beans/1 - 2 cans of green beans
1 can mushrooms/1 pint mushrooms
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Couple dashes of hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste, optional
1 teaspoon of kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
- In the bottom of a Dutch oven or other heavy pot, heat the oil over medium high heat.
- Add the onion, peppers and celery*; cook and stir until softened, about 4 minutes.
- Add the garlic and ground beef, cook and stir until meat is browned and cooked through.
- Drain off excess fat. Sprinkle meat with flour; cook and stir for 3 minutes.
- Add the beef stock, V-8 juice and diced tomatoes.
- Stir in the potatoes, carrots, corn, green beans, and mushrooms*
- Add Worcestershire, hot sauce and seasonings to taste. Stir, cover and simmer over medium to medium low (low bubble) for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until veggies are tender, stirring occasionally.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
* if fresh mushrooms, add in second step; if canned, add in sixth step.
The bit about draining the meat and adding flour is to create a thickener. I am from the south, therefore anything that is flour + oil type = pre-gravy, so that's how I think. You might think of it as a pre-roux. In other words, if it doesn't thicken to your satisfaction after adding broth, create a cream sauce or roux in another pot and just add that.
If you're one of those people who for reasons universe cannot create cream sauce or gravy or make anything thicken: you are not alone. I am not one of them, but my sister is, which proves the point; there's no reason we can do the exact same thing on the same stove and mine thickens and hers doesn't; it's fucking witchcraft. This has been tested; we just don't know.
(To compensate, I can successfully make only one kind of cookie (peanut butter blossom), and I include box cookies in this that I can make burn or stay raw, doesn't matter, it just happens. I can make white bread, croissants, puff pastry, challah, bread-items I cannot pronounce, but I cannot successfully make a chocolate chip cookie without another person being involved. It's goddamn random.)
So if your soup refuses the fuck to thicken, again, it's not you; it's witchcraft. One out of three times, I still have to make either a cream sauce or a roux on the side; the flour hates me, the soup hates me, it's the green moon of anti-thickness, who knows. I am a Texas girl who can make gravy literally out of any oil + flour-like item and yet, this happens.
Deconstruction of Soup
This is an outline of a soup, actually. I have switched out every ingredient in here at least once and never use peppers, V8, cajun spices, or hot sauce (I like all of those, but not in this soup). You can, though; that's why they're in the recipe and it works tremendously well. Using this as an outline, you can make any soup you want because anything can be subbed out or removed without penalty. Literally all you will need to do is vary your liquid proportions and all you need to do that is watch.
Now, onto the variations.
Meat or No Meat
Not into ground beef? Try these:
1.) stew meat
2.) chili meat
3.) Elk (I've heard)
Not into red meat? Try these:
2.) Italian sausage
3.) Chorizo (yes)
For the broth on pork, if you're not using beef broth (you can! You just don't have to), you can either use a pork broth or a vegetable broth. If you're not sure, sample and see what you think: even if you love pork, you might not want a pork broth base.
Pork broth note: pork broth isn't bad but it is very very porky (porkish?) and sometimes can be overwhelming to the balance of the soup for some people; for others, it's fine, ymmv. However, if you're not sure, go with half vegetable/half pork (or half beef/half pork if you want to try that) and taste-test it. This is very much a matter of taste and you can't do it wrong.
About Sausages (aka Beef and Pork)
So, some thoughts on sausages.
These sausages can be made with either/both beef and pork, depending on where you get it and who is making it. So if you eat kosher or halal, you'll want to check your packaging for kosher or halal certification (if available) or talk to the butcher and make sure of what you're getting. If you're cooking for someone who eats kosher, halal, or Hindu people that eat pork, ask them first where they get their meat to be sure. (Useful way to get a butcher recommendation as well, btw.)
If you're in an area with a history of German or Polish or Czech immigration, this is especially important. I'm from one of those and what wikipedia says comprises these isn't going to necessarily fly three generations out from the original immigrants; food drift is a thing. Sometimes, Polish sausage is not Polish sausage so much as Polish Central Texas after the Great Depression Sausage, or Polish That Migrated into South Texas and Spent Quality Time in the Valley Sausage or Polish That Fell in Love with German Cooking and Their Daughter Married a Sausage from Laredo Sausage: you just don't know.
I live here, I know the food, I have eaten the food all my life, and I still check when I'm cooking for anyone who has religious and/or dietary restrictions just to be sure.
I cannot emphasize this enough; when it comes to sausage, anything can happen. It's sausage: it's job is to take the leftover horror of meat no one wants and make it into food we will willingly eat. If it's not certified or from a kosher or halal butcher or kosher or halal grocery store, you cannot be sure without asking what is in it and how it was prepared. Cross-contamination is a thing as well.
Sausages - can be anything
1.) smoked sausage (beef, pork, or beef-and-pork)
2.) kielbasa (beef, pork, or beef-and-pork)
3.) hot sausage (beef, pork, or beef-and-pork)
With the sausages, you might want to cook those first separately, so where it says to brown the meat and drain, ignore. Just add the flour and continue.
Not into meat? Try these: (all should be cooked before hand)
1.) Garbanzo beans - I use these with meat, they are that good
2.) Kidney beans
3.) Great Northern beans
4.) Pinto beans (not my favorite but I am a beans and cornbread girl; if I have pinto beans, I make them with cornbread)
5.) Butter breans
6.) Lima beans
7.) BEANS ANY BEANS DELICIOUS BEANS
You can also use any non-meat alternative, these are just the ones I've either tested or seen tested, eaten, or can confirm. Like, go to town with whatever protein works for you.
For non-meat, switch out the broth for a vegetarian base and where it says to put in the meat, put in the beans, warm, and add a little butter or oil for the flour if needed to make the thickener. I'd say no more than a tablespoon at most. Easy check: after adding the flour, it should become a thickish paste sticking to everything that will dissolve upon adding broth (to thicken it). If it's solid or white flour is visible, add some oil/butter to make it paste up.
Chicken and Poultry
You can with some switching around but I prefer using a chicken outline soup for my general chicken soup needs. I'll post a couple of those later for anyone who doesn't have a favorite of their own.
This soup supports any vegetable combination you want; my major use for it is to get rid of all the mixed vegetables in the fridge I had leftover. You need five to seven cups of ANY VEGETABLES YOU HAVE. Go wild: this sucker once hosted a winter squash mix and beans from Whole Foods I couldn't identify and therefore scared me.
Here is some recommendations from my leftover stock that were magnificent:
1.) Winter squash mix
2.) Water chestnuts - wonderful variation for some mild crunchy.
3.) French cut green beans instead of regular green beans.
4.) Vegetarian stir-fry mix
7.) Anything, I mean it.
This soup really can get overwhelmed by the amount of tomatoes. I love tomatoes, but wow. You can cut them all without penalty if you're not into them, by the way, but unless you don't consider life worth living without all the tomatoes, you're going to really want to add any tomato-based ingredient one at a time and taste test it. Using the recipe as it stands, it is very strong.
Usually, I do either tomato juice and all my leftover fresh tomatoes or half the tomato juice and a can of diced tomatoes. Depending on how it tastes, I may not even use tomato juice at all. But that's very much a matter of taste and honestly, you can't do anything wrong.
This soup can be a stew or a soup, which is just how thick or thin. Go for your taste buds. Add more broth/bouillon/water to thin as needed, that's about it.
I have three more soups to add for those in need of easy or bulk meals. I am so glad I just ate. All recipes are added and being added to tag food: recipes.
Updated: Added notes on sausage use for those who eat halal/kosher or are cooking for those who eat halal/kosher. Anyone have anything to add there, I'd love to hear it.
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