Beef vegetable soup is one of the wonderful soups to serve on a cold day. It is very tasty and after eating it you will feel warm and satisfied. This recipe is presented in narrative form instead of the typical Food Nirvana format as the narrative form is better for describing the reasons why I choose particular ingredients and specific procedures.
I do not have a truly standardized recipe for beef vegetable soup. I make it from memory. What I can do is tell you in general what I do and the ingredients and amounts I typically use. Oh, yes, the soup is quite good, but the exact contents and precise amounts vary from time to time.
I start with good beef for soups, which means I avoid raw lean beef as it will be comparatively tough and tasteless if boiled. So I will make a roast beef with a chuck or sirloin roast, skillet seared and roasted to a well done point per the Food Nirvana recipe, enjoy that at dinner and use the leftovers a day or two later to make beef vegetable soup. Similarly, any leftovers from a standing rib roast or charcoal grilled steaks will be perfect. Those types of beef additions give the soup a very tasty beefy flavor and tender pieces of beef. I suggest having a minimum of one pound of leftover beef when making a gallon of soup. Two pounds is better.
I also use canned beef broth ... College Inn® brand ... typically two or three 14.5 oz. cans. Water is something I add after putting in the beef, the vegetables and the beef broth, and then only to make sure the vegetables are barely covered in liquid. For a gallon of soup I also use a teaspoon of sea salt and one half teaspoon of pepper, figuring that people like to season their vegetable soup at the time they eat it. Thus, this soup is intentionally underseasoned relative to salt and pepper.
Start with a two gallon soup pot and put in the meat after it has been cut/diced into small pieces. Add two cans of beef broth and the salt and pepper.
Now let's add the vegetables ... I start with a 28 oz. can of peeled plum tomatoes in juice and I cut them into quarters and add the pieces and the juice to the two gallon pot. I then dice a medium size onion and add it to the pot. Also three diced cloves of garlic. I then add a can of corn (with liquid), a can of green beans (with liquid), two or three diced fresh carrots, two or three diced stalks of celery and a cup of fresh or frozen (never canned) peas. Peeled and diced russet potato pieces and a can of kidney beans will be added later.
I season the soup with a tablespoon of dried oregano. Other herbs can also be used, like sage or thyme, along with a bay leaf. The amount of any particular herb can obviously be varied. It is a matter of personal preference.
I do not put in the potato until the last fifteen minutes of simmering ... I peel and dice the potato but avoid overcooking it which will make it mealy and too soft. I often use only one very large russet potato and supplement it with the other main carbohydrate ... the can of kidney beans. At some times in the past I've thrown in small amounts of chopped broccoli and/or cauliflower but they are not essential. I've also added a small can of sliced mushrooms (with liquid) to add texture variety.
If necessary, I add the third can of beef broth and possibly a small amount of water to assure that the vegetables are covered in liquid. I bring the soup to a full boil on high heat and then put the pot on a small burner on very low heat, and cover the pot, and let it simmer for an hour ... then I add the diced potato and the can of kidney beans and simmer the soup for an additional fifteen minutes. It is done and ready to eat, with the following caveat ... soups of this sort will always taste better the second day, after the various flavors have had time to mix.
Thus, I do something many people fear, unnessarily ... I cover the very hot soup with a lid and simply let the pot sit on the unheated stove overnight. I do not refrigerate it. After heating and serving some of the soup the next day I do refrigerate the leftover soup or process it with my vacuum sealer and freeze it.
I serve hot beef vegetable soup with a side of Keebler® Club Crackers and butter.