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Here’s a great comfort food – hearty soup. Yes, it is a lot more labor intensive than opening up a can, but this is so much better! Depending on your ingredients, it is also a pretty cheap meal too. We raise cattle, so our beef doesn’t cost my grocery bill any extra.  I use whatever vegetables I have lying around or I try to buy when they are on sale & freeze what we can’t use until soup making day.

The last soup I made cost me:  $1.29 x 2 for green and yellow dried peas (of which I used 1/4 of the bags. = 64 cents
$1.25 for diced tomatoes
$6.99 for BRM mixed beans – used 1/4 of bag = $1.75
approx 7.00 for all vegetables
approx 7.00 for all spices (this simply assumes I bought 1 jar, and you aren’t going to do that!)

Total cost of soup:  $17.64
Add beef at 1.00/lb $3.00 (assume 3 lbs, I like to use lots)

Total cost to someone who doesn’t have their own cows: $20.64
I’m guessing the serving size is 30  = 68 cents per serving

Compare to a can of GF soup I saw in store  $3.99/serves 4 – yah right, more like 2.  = 1.99 per serving.

Plus, my soup is a meal all on its own & I control all the ingredients, preparation and possibility of cross contamination.

The secret to success is a large stock pot.  A Dutch oven size just isn’t big enough although you could do the soup in batches.  That’s what I did until I got my pot.

Beef, Bean & Vegetable Soup

2 Soup Bones
1.5 – 2 pounds beef (cheapest cut you can find, not ground) or more
Stock pot half full of water

Add soup bones to pot of water. Cut beef into bite-sized chunks and add to water as you cut. Boil for at least 2 hours.  If there is marrow still in the bones, be sure to push it out before discarding the bones.  This is excellent for your health!

To the pot add:

2-3 cups of mixed beans
 – we like green & yellow peas, red lentils, and also Bob’s Red Mill mixed beans.  BRM mixed beans have to be soaked the night before though.

4 cups assorted vegetables – carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, cabbage, whatever suits you , add more veggies if you want
1 lg can diced tomatoes
1 finely chopped onion

Then start adding seasonings.  The quantities vary, depending on how much soup you are making & I don’t measure.  I just start with a Tbsp & work up.

3 bay leaves (essential!)
1 tbsp garlic (to taste)
1 tbsp salt (to taste )
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp basil
1 tbsp GF beef boullion powder (may not need, I add this in last hour of cooking)

Simmer this on the stove until beans are tender & vegetables are nice and soft.  Takes about 2-3 hours.  Stir & sample occasionally, add seasonings as needed.  I typically start cooking this soup about 10 a.m. on Saturday morning & serve it for supper at 6 p.m.  The longer it simmers, the better the flavour becomes.

You might also add cooked noodles to everyone’s bowl as you ladle the soup out.  Don’t add noodles to the soup because they get overcooked and swell too much.

This soup recipe makes enough soup for a month of my work lunches.  You can adjust quantities as necessary.