A Family Tradition – Barb’s Vegetable Beef Soup

A Family Tradition – Barb’s Vegetable Beef Soup

Today, we’re having Barb’s Beef Vegetable Soup.   This recipe made a regular appearance on our dinner table at the Kinsella house – Anita’s family.

Barb, my mother, was a natural in all things food related – cooking, gardening, canning, freezing, baking, catering and enjoying.   And, she did all this for a family of 6 while making it look so easy.  Or, in her catering days, prepare food for a few hundred people and laugh at the stressful times.   She was the best boss ever.  It wasn’t until Brian and I had our own children that I realized just how hard Mom worked to keep good food on the table, on the canning shelves and in the freezer.  She was one amazing woman.

Mom will be gone 8 years this May and not a day goes by we don’t miss her.  Those of you lucky enough to have known Barb know she was an exceptional person and good at everything she tried.  But, she was especially known for her cooking and baking.  She made the most delicious everything.

This recipe reminds me of Mom.  The flavor is just what I remember.  Missing are the delicious creamy homegrown Lima beans Mom always grew in the garden.  Wow, were they delicious.  Growing up, I didn’t understood what it took to grow and freeze enough Lima beans for 6 hungry people.  Now, I know.

If I could see Barb one more time, I would hug her and not let go.  And, I would thank her for all she did to raise us kids.  All the time spent cooking, cleaning up and doing it all over again the next day.   Never a complaint, always doing for others.    I really miss her.

Here is the soup recipe as best I can remember.  It is very simple so start with the best ingredients. Homegrown as much as possible.  It even has a surprise ending.

Barb’s Beef Vegetable Soup

1 Chuck or Arm Roast
1 Quart Canned Tomatoes, preferably homegrown
Potatoes, diced, waxy reds instead of a russet that will break apart
Cabbage, sliced
Carrots, diced
Celery, diced, use leaves if you have them
Onion, diced
Green Beans, frozen or fresh, NOT from a can
Sweet Corn – homegrown fresh or frozen is best, store bought as last resort

Slice Chuck or Arm Roast into 4 or 5 pieces and season generously with salt, pepper and garlic granules or powder.  Do not remove bone.  In heated stock pot, add fat and brown beef on all sides.  Add 1 quart of water for each pound of meat plus one more quart.  Turn heat down very low, cover and cook beef until tender and falling apart, 2-3 hours.  This bone-in, meaty roast creates a rich beef broth.  Once beef pieces are tender, remove from pot and set aside.

Add one quart tomatoes, vegetables and 1 tsp salt.  Mom never measured the veggies but you can estimate 1 cup of each vegetable to start.   She was heavier on cabbage because it cooked down.  If your soup seems too loaded with veggies, add another pint – quart of water.  Don’t worry if the flavor seems weak at this point.  Flavor will improve once the vegetables add their goodness to the broth.

Cook at a low simmer until vegetables are tender.   Taste for seasoning and add additional salt plus freshly ground pepper.

Break up meat into smaller pieces and add back to the stock pot to heat through.  Serve as is or read on for the Kinsella tradition…

Surprise Ending:
It was our family’s tradition to take the beef roast pieces out of the soup and serve them separately, on a plate with ketchup.  Or, catsup as Mom called it.  That was always the way we ate the tender meat and it is DELICIOUS.  The sweet acidic catsup perfectly compliments the rich, tender beef.  Mom knew!