Homemade Vegetable Beef Soup

How can something so simple, be so good?  I ask myself that every time I make this homemade beef and vegetable soup.  For years I tried all sorts of additions and spices and herbs but in the end, the one time I just made it simply without the addition of spices and herbs, was the time we loved it the most.  That was back in January of 2007 (according to my scribbles on the recipe I wrote out as I made it) and I've been making it this way ever since.

I do play with the recipe based on what I have on hand.  A mixture of crushed tomatoes, tomato juice, tomato sauce... as well as more or less of the basic vegetables I put in it.  Sometimes I put meat it, but other times I don't!  Using beef broth or bouillon gives it enough flavor I can leave the beef out if I don't have something on hand.  I say that, because I don't like using ground beef, so I make this when I have leftover grilled steak to use up.  Actually, I usually grill 1 or 2 extra just so I can make this.  Oh!  And you can simmer it on the stove, or put it in a crock pot.  Either way.

Homemade Vegetable Soup

6 c beef broth
3 1/2 cups total of tomato juice, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes with juice, V-8, etc.
4 carrots, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
Salt and Pepper taste
1 - 2 cups diced leftover cooked steak (tough is fine as the long cook process tenderizes it)
*optional vegetables: chopped cabbage, diced potato, corn or mixed vegetables
*optional spices:  1/2 t garlic salt, 1/2 t onion powder, 1 t paprika, 1 t chili powder

Place all in a soup pot or Dutch oven, bring to boil, reduce to simmer 2-3 hours.  Or place all in crock pot and cook on low 8 hours.

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