Farmer-approved Beef and Vegie Soup
The sun rises slowly, almost reluctantly, to reveal another clear, crisp morning. Low-lying grasses are intricately adorned in white, which will gradually give way to a familiar green. The fire has died down overnight, and needs re-stoking ….
And so begins most winter mornings here at ‘Border Park’.
It is during these cooler days that we appreciate a comforting bowl of steaming soup. Usually for lunch. Mostly because it helps warm us from the inside, but also because it helps build stamina and motivation for the second half of the day.
This recipe was shared with us by Jenny Schwarz, who, along with her husband John, owned and farmed ‘Border Park’ for 40 years before our family took it over.
The beauty of this meal is that it uses the ‘cook once, eat twice‘ technique. “In a nutshell, you cook (or simply prepare) a double portion of something and save half for a future meal.” (Kelly Smith from The Nourishing Home)
While you could cook a small amount of meat just for this soup, we urge you to cook a larger quantity (roasts are wonderful for this!), and divide it into smaller batches . By doing so, most of the hard work has been done at an earlier stage, and you can enjoy a hearty meal with minimal effort on the day.
The real star in this soup is of course the homemade beef or lamb bone broth. It adds a complex layer of flavours to the soup, and a deeply nourishing element that you won’t find from a bought broth.
If you’re uncertain about making bone broth, or simply want some useful tips, check out our recipe.
And so, as in days gone by, this soup is prepared and enjoyed by another generation of Mallee farmers. What a blessing!
We’d love to hear what meal helps you get through the day. Let us know in the comments below!
Wholesome Beef and Vegie Soup*
- 4 – 6 onions, diced
- 1 kg carrots, diced
- 6 stalks celery, diced
- ½ – 1 cup rolled oats (for gluten free, omit or substitute quinoa flakes) – see recipe notes
- 3 – 4 litres beef or lamb broth
- 1 tsp curry powder (or to taste)
- 1 extra large zucchini, grated (see recipe notes)
- Large handful of leftover cooked beef (or lamb), diced
- Tin of lentils or beans (optional)
- Salt and pepper
- Handful spinach leaves or parsley, chopped
1. Sauté onion, carrots and celery in a large saucepan.
2. Add rolled oats and cook for about 5 minutes until oats is softened.
3. Add broth, curry powder, and diced meat and bring to boil.
4. Cover and simmer for 30 – 45 minutes.
5. Add zucchini and lentils (if using) and cook for a further 15 minutes, or until soup is thick.
6. Add spinach just before serving.
7. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with crusty bread rolls.
Serves: 6 – 8 (with left-overs!)
Special Thickening Agents: It may seem strange to feature rolled oats in a soup, but they cook down well (and taste absolutely nothing like porridge!). The other ingredient, zucchini, also is an unlikely candidate as a thickener (given it contains so much water). Amazingly though, it does help thicken the soup, giving it ‘body’ and boosting the vegie quota. Because the zucchini is grated, it cooks and almost disappears, leaving nearly no trace of the large green vegetable it once was! Tip: for ‘no-green’ eaters, simply peel the zucchini prior to grating it, and watch them ask for seconds 🙂
Tip: This soup is an excellent way to use those large ‘forgotten’ zucchinis that seem to grow several feet long overnight! If unavailable, simply use 3 – 4 smaller ones.
History about this Recipe:
* This is an adaption of Jenny’s Grandma’s soup, adding the diced meat for extra protein.
Jenny recalls “The first time I had this Vegie soup was at a ‘Cousins Family Reunion’. One of my cousins made it for everyone as it was “Grandma’s Soup”. On reflection I just wonder if my Grandma actually used squash originally instead of zucchini, as zucchini in those days may have hardly yet been on the scene”.