I call this cheater beef vegetable soup since I use mostly canned vegetables and frozen for this recipe. Feel free to replace with fresh vegetables if you like. I use canned because the potatoes hold up way better during the slow simmer.
If you opt to use fresh vegetables for this recipe, I recommend par cooking your potatoes and carrots prior to peeling and dicing. They will hold their shape a bit better like the canned vegetables would. I have done this with decent results, but it is time consuming. As long-time readers of the blog already know, I am lazy sometimes and prefer to skip steps that I don’t find necessary for producing great tasting food.
Canned vegetables are readily available these days with reduced sodium and even some with no salt or sugar added. These are great shortcuts for this beef vegetable soup for those on controlled sodium and sugar diets.
For the meat in this recipe I have successfully used stew meat, cut up roast, assorted lone frozen steaks, and thinly sliced meat pieces marked as carne asada in the grocery store meat section. So, basically what I am saying is that just about any cut of meat will work for this. Just make sure that it is cut into similar sized pieces.
Just about any vegetables you like can be added to this soup.
This recipe also makes a lot of soup. This soup can be frozen and saved for those snowy days when you want hot homemade soup but don’t want to travel to the store. Pairs perfectly with a grilled cheese or grilled peanut butter.
I have seen other folks’ tips for freezing soup flat in plastic baggies. Wait until this soup is cool, the transfer to baggies. Make sure they are tightly closed and not leaking. Lay them flat on a baking sheet and place in freezer until solid. It will save room in the freezer, just make sure they are labeled well, as it is harder to tell what is in a stack of bags from the sides than it is in a bowl.
Place beef, beef broth, bouillon, flavor enhancers, diced tomatoes, sliced onion, Herbs de Provence, bay leaves, and black pepper into a large stockpot.
Add enough water to completely cover the beef, tomatoes, and onions.
Bring to a boil.
Immediately reduce heat to a slow simmer.
Simmer until beef is tender and onions have disappeared. At least 2 hours, adding more water as necessary to keep beef, tomatoes, and onions covered.
Add drained and rinsed canned vegetable.
Continue simmering for 1 hour or longer.
Add frozen vegetables.
Raise heat to high until soup reaches a boil.
Reduce heat back to simmer.
Add barley or pasta, if using *see notes
Simmer until peas are no longer floating, about an hour.
Taste and adjust by adding water to dilute flavor or adding bouillon to increase beef flavor.
Remove bay leaves.
Serve piping hot.
If you opt to use fresh vegetables for this recipe, I recommend par cooking your potatoes and carrots prior to peeling and dicing. They will hold their shape a bit better like the canned vegetables would.
Barley or small pasta like acini de pepe or orzo can be added during the last hour of simmering.
If using barley or pasta, remove whatever portion of soup you plan to freeze first. The peas and corn will finish cooking when leftovers are reheated, and pasta or barley can be added during reheating. Cooked pasta and barley reheat poorly in soups after freezing.
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