Soup is one of our favorite foods. It is filling, usually inexpensive to make, and nice and warm on a cold day. It doesn’t take any special skills or a lot of time.
Hamburger soup started as a recipe I saw years ago someplace, but I have modified and created my own version of course.
First, my soup saving ideas. I never throw away bits or small quantities of left over vegetables or meats. I keep a quart container for veggies in the freezer, and add to it whenever I have a left over quarter cup of this, or a half cup of that. Any solid vegetables work – carrots, peas, onions, lima beans, green beans, spinach, potatoes (white or sweet) and beets. I would not add something like eggplant or zucchini. I guess you could, but I don’t. This uses up everything you have served, without throwing away small amounts or tossing 2 tablespoons of something into the compost pile. Any left over chicken, beef or pork can be turned into soup at some point, so wrap up well and keep in the freezer until inspiration or necessity strikes.
Secondly, don’t be limited by my ideas. For this soup you could literally throw in anything you like.
Third, you can also use beef bones to flavor the water if you don’t have any stock saved. Or use water and bouillon or soup stock paste in place of stock.
So my recipe today looked like this:
Saute in a bit of olive oil until softened:
1/2 large onion, diced
2-3 stalks of celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Then add in 1 pound of ground beef (I was using 93% today, since I don’t want a lot of fat in the soup) – break it up and stir until there is longer any pink.
add in 2 cups of beef stock
If you have a packet of onion soup mix, stir it in. It adds more flavor.
Add in about 2 cups of mixed vegetables. Today I had some corn, carrots, & spinach saved up.
then add water until everything is covered.
Add spices of your choice. Today I included salt and pepper, of course, and about 1/2 tsp of cumin.
It only needs to simmer 20 -30 minutes to be done, though sometimes I simmer much longer to concentrate flavors.
If you don’t have beef, use leftover chicken or pork, and chicken broth in place of the beef broth – or leave out meat all together for vegetable soup
If you want some added protein and fiber, add in some dried/canned beans (navy beans work well)
If you like cabbage or have some to use up, slice thinly and stir into the onions to wilt.
Add some tomatoes/tomato sauce/ canned tomatoes for some extra Vitamin C, K and E. Even ketchup can brighten up the flavor.
Swap out spices or add in herbs – thyme and basil always work. Make a spiced up version with some chili powder or Cayenne pepper.
Add some small pasta to make it more like minestrone, or noodles. Make little meatballs to look fancy, or add in matzo balls or dumplings. In the mood for creamy? Stir in mashed potatoes or some other thickening agent; a bit of cream off the heat; or puree a cup of the soup and stir back in.
There’s no right or wrong version. I tend to make it different every time.
Serve steaming, with a thick slice of homemade bread!
My favorite soup cookbook? The Ultimate Soup cookbook
I also have The Ultimate Soup Bible on my shelf. There’s all kinds of soup books out there.