Thursday, November 7, 2013

Vegetable Beef Soup: Can or Freeze

The weather has finally been cooling off here, we have had a very warm fall(at least warm for us!). A balmy 40+ degrees on most days until this week, yesterday especially, we finally began to cool off. Yesterday's low was a chilly 16 degrees so it was the perfect time for me to pull out the stew meat and make my giant batch of vegetable beef soup!
This is another of our favorite soups. Probably THE favorite soup of the house. My husband has always loved beef barley soup, but I needed a recipe I would be able to can(and you cant safely can grains) so one day towards the end of summer I made this recipe up using all of the garden veggies I had on hand. It is nice and filling when eaten with a few crackers or a bread roll(or even by itself). Plus its such a big batch you have enough leftovers for quite a few more meals. For us this makes 5 full dinners, but we always go for seconds. So I think if you have a salad or something else on the side,(or just cut back on your portions!) this can make a few more meals than that. My son Noah loves this soup as well, which is another reason I like to make large batches. If he wont eat any other protein, he will always eat this soup! 
I'm not going into my insanely detailed instructions on this one, because well, lets face it, I'm sure you all know how to chop up a bunch of food, throw it in a pot and turn the burner on. Just one more thing I love about this recipe, so simple, but tastes SO good!! Do be careful with the amount of salt you add, the amount needed will all depend on the beef broth you use and how much salt content is in it already. I used 1/4 cup "Better Than Bouillon" organic beef base and water in place of the broth for this batch.

Vegetable Beef Soup: 8-9 quart batch

5 lbs beef round or chuck, cut into bite size pieces
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 large onions, chopped
4 cups potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 cups tomatoes, peeled and chopped(or 2 15 oz cans stewed or diced tomatoes)
11 cups cubed/chopped veggies(I used 1 1/2 cups zucchini, 6 cups carrots, 1 1/2 cups corn, and 2 cups snap peas all cut into bite size pieces)
2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
12 cups beef broth
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 sprigs thyme
1 Tablespoon pepper
Salt to taste(I used about 1-1 1/2 Tablespoons)

Throw everything into a very large pot(no smaller than 12 quart size is my recommendation... I use a large stockpot) Turn on heat and bring to simmer. Continue to keep at a simmer until cooked through Stirring occasionally. Mine usually takes 3-5 hours simmering. The longer its simmered the better flavor it has. Just don't simmer so long that the veggies turn to mush! 

For the extra's you are storing you can either ladle the soup into freezer safe containers and freeze, or can it.

For canning:
Pressure can at 10lbs(11lbs for dial gauge) for- pints:75 min, quarts:90 min  
Recipes makes about 18 pints or 9 quarts

Random money saving tip: Instead of buying single cans of tomato sauce, buy the big 10# cans if you have a bulk store that carries them. Once you open the can to use a little bit, separate it into ziplock baggies. I usually measure out about 1 1/2 cups to 1/34 cups per baggy to equal one can of tomato sauce. You can do the same thing with other products like stewed or diced tomatoes, or even enchilada sauce if you buy the canned stuff. The big cans are only about $4 possibly even cheaper in the lower 48, and I can get about 8 "cans" of sauce out of 1 of those cans. 

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