At the start of cold weather, I get in the kitchen and make one pot of soup. A good soup or stew takes time to put together then allow to simmer most of the day. I cut, I chop, I throw in some seasonings, and then spend the rest of the day enjoying the wonderful aroma that floats through my house.
I may only cook it once, but we actually enjoy it the rest of the winter. Did I say one pot? Yes. But you should see the size of that pot. What is left over is put in jars, pressure canned, then stored in the cellar for a quick and easy meal. We may serve it with cornbread one time, fresh baked bread the next, or cheesy corn muffins, but each time it is served, it is delicious, and warms the cold bones of these farmers!
Out of all the recipes in my box, this probably one of the most “By the Seat of Your Pants” recipe I have. Building a good pot of soup is strictly dependent on how much you want and what you like – both with the vegetables and the seasonings. And, of course, you can omit the beef altogether, if you wish. I’ll give you the basics for a small pot, but you will have to wing it from there. If you want to can it as well, get out your biggest pot and just keep adding until it ‘looks like enough’!
3 red potatoes, cubed
3 carrots, peeled and sliced,
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can green beans, drained
1 sirloin steak or chuck roast, cubed
1 onion, finely chopped
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
Spices: I use garlic powder, seasoned pepper, thyme and Tony Chachere’s, all to taste
Cube meat and place in a stock pot. You can either saute it in about 2 Tablespoons of oil, or pour just enough water over it to cover; cook or simmer until meat is browned. Add vegetables and spices. Add enough water just to cover. Simmer on low heat for the rest of the day, stirring occasionally. At approximately half the cooking time, taste and adjust spices, if needed.
Do you want to can your leftovers? Soup of this nature requires pressure canning. Keep your soup hot. Sterilize enough jars to accommodate what you have left over. Ladle soup into hot jars to within 1” of the top. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, with additional soup. Wipe the rims and place flats and rings on top. Screw ring on until finger-tight. Process at 10 pounds of pressure: Pints for 55 minutes; Quarts for 85 minutes.
I have not gone into the actual pressure canning process here. If you do not know how to pressure can, PLEASE read how to do it, and be very careful. Pressure canning can be dangerous – from a pot full of broken jars to serious burns and worse. If you aren’t comfortable pressure canning, you can fill plastic containers with soup that has been cooled, top it securely, label it, and pop it in the freezer. Both ways still give you plenty of tasty soup for the winter!
Note: Don’t limit yourself to these vegetables (or spices). Add what you have on hand, and what you like. You can toss in some Lima or other types of beans; English peas; turnips…let your refrigerator, freezer, pantry and imagination help you create your own soup. (In place of the store-bought canned vegetables, we use the ones we canned over the summer – but either work equally well.) Also, I use a chuck roast. The meat just seems to turn out tenderer than a sirloin – PLUS, I like my steaks grilled to medium-rare perfection!