Monday, March 16, 2015

Midwestern Vegetable-Beef Soup

I have been on a big soup kick. This is in part due to the colder than usual winter here in Charlotte and how we Southerners do hate to be cold. Bless our hearts. It’s also due to my new love — my pressure cooker — which makes preparing soup so easy and fast. The chopping is the most time intensive part. My sous chef daughters Lucy, 8, and Penny, 6, are the perfect assistants.

This soup is inspired by my mom’s, which I grew up eating. It took me just 40 years to give it a whirl in my own kitchen. I call it Midwestern vegetable-beef soup, because I grew up in Ohio and it reminds me of Mom.

NOTE: The following directions call for the pressure cooker. You could also cook everything on the stovetop. I may be finishing my second bowl and packing up the leftovers when you sit down to eat, but please carry on.


Midwestern Vegetable-Beef Soup

1 pound lean ground beef

3 large carrots, peeled and diced ½” inch thick
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
15 oz. diced tomatoes, with juices
32 oz. beef broth
1 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup peas

Using the sautee setting on your pressure cooker, cook the ground beef, adding some salt and pepper in the process. Do not drain. (If you are  not using lean meat, you might want to drain off  a bit of the fat.)

Add all of the veggies, except the corn and peas, as well as the thyme, bay leaf, diced tomatoes and broth. Cover and cook on high pressure for six minutes.

When time is up, do a quick release on the pressure cooker and remove the lid when it is safe to do so. Remove bay leaf, add in the frozen corn and peas and allow the soup to heat through.
Serve and enjoy!

PS: Don’t have all of these veggies on hand? Use what you have. My neighbor followed up on my version with her own variation, which involved her stovetop (no pressure cooker,) green beans and cabbage. She shared some leftovers with me. Yum. You could even add a cup of pasta like farfalle to make beef-vegetable-noodle soup. If using pasta, toss uncooked noodles into the pressure cooker with the other the ingredients.
PPS: Vegetarian? By all means, skip the meat and use vegetable broth instead.

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