I always keep chuck roast in my freezer.  I use it often and for a variety of purposes.  It is a wonderfully flavorful cut of meat – full of marbling and perfect for cold weather cooking.

Yesterday I took out a sweet little baby chuck roast (only about 1.5 – 2 pounds) and thought, “now, what am I going to do with you?”

Too small for a pot roast or beef stew, I needed to concoct a dish that wouldn’t require a ton of meat – a meal where the chuck roast could play second fiddle because that little hunk of beef wasn’t made for the spotlight.  And then it came to me!  Vegetable beef soup.

This soup is so comfy and so yummy that I ate a big bowl of it right before I went to bed last night.  (I actually ate my bowl of soup while I was sitting in bed.  Just don’t tell anybody.)

Here’s what you need to make it:

veg beef soup ingredients

That’s vegetable oil peeking out from behind the garlic and bay leaves hiding behind the celery stalks.  Bay leaves are shy, with their subtle background flavor.  Much like my mini chuck roast, they never steal the show, but they’re a valuable player.

You also need two of these:

beef bouillon cubes

Plus salt and black pepper, to taste.

Start by cutting your beef into roughly two inch chunks.  I’m not nuts about this, but I always remove the larger pieces of fat, leaving the thinner marbling throughout.

chuck

The fat adds flavor, baby.

Now dice one large sweet onion.  I had a huge onion, so I used half of it.

dice sweet onion

Next locate your prettiest stock pot and heat two tablespoons of vegetable over high heat.  When the oil is good and hot, place your beef into the pot in a single layer.  Brown your beef on one side and then flip.

Once it’s looking nice and brown on both sides, throw in your onions.

browned chuck

That’s a masterpiece of a photo if I ever saw one.

Give it a stir.  Then measure two tablespoons of minced garlic and throw that in, too.  Give it another stir and let your beef, onions and garlic hang out a few minutes (maybe 2-3) and make friends, stirring frequently.

Measure one cup of beef broth,

1 cup beef broth

and pour it into your pot, scraping the bottom to dislodge any brown bits that are stuck there.  Then crack open your can of diced tomatoes and pour the whole thing into the pot.  Now grab the rest of your beef stock and pour it all in, too.

pour in broth

Measure one tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce and add it to the pot.

Then measure one-half of a tablespoon of Italian seasoning,

italian seasoning

and stir it in with your other ingredients.

Throw in two bays leaves.

Finally, unwrap two beef bouillon cubes and throw ’em in, too.

Bring your ingredients to a boil and then lower the heat to a low simmer.  Cover the pot and allow it to cook for an hour-and-a-half.  This gives the chuck roast plenty of time to get nice and soft.

While it’s cooking, chop a handful of baby carrots.  Do you like that precise measurement?  It’s about this many:

handful carrotsThen dice two celery stalks,

celery stalks

and two small potatoes.

cut potatoes

The operative word here is small.  Large potatoes will soak up too much of the broth.

After one-and-a-half hours, stir your soup and throw in the carrots, celery and potatoes.  Open and drain the canned green beans, corn and black-eyed peas.  Add them all to the soup and stir.

Cover the pot and simmer the soup on low for another hour.  The soup is done when the veggies are soft but not mushy.

After it’s done cooking, season the soup with salt and black pepper, to taste.  Add a little salt and give it a taste.  Then add a little more and taste again.  There’s nothing worse than over-salting a pot of soup that you just spent the whole afternoon preparing.

Garnish with a bit of grated parmesan cheese.  I planned to garnish with a little fresh parsley too but then I had a blonde moment and forgot – but I didn’t even miss it!

veg beef soup

This soup is so yummy and so comfy I’m getting sleepy just writing about it.  I’m going to go eat a bowl in bed and then turn out the lights.  Nighty night.

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

1.5 – 2 lb. chuck roast

1 large sweet onion

1 tbsp. minced garlic

32 fl. oz. beef broth

28 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 tbsp. worshtershire sauce

1/2 tbsp. Italian seasoning

2 bay leaves

2 beef bouillon cubes

handful baby carrots

2 celery stalks

2 small potatoes

14.5 oz. canned green beans

14.5 oz. canned whole kernel corn

14.5 oz. canned black-eyed peas

grated parmesan cheese (optional)

fresh parsley (optional for garnish)