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Hamburger Soup

I began making hamburger soup about thirty years ago due to a love of old fashioned beef stew. While I loved the beef stew, I did not like having to spend approximately four hours boiling stew beef in order to make the stew. Browned hamburger was the answer! The hamburger made it much easier and quicker to make a large pot of soup and distributed the meat more evenly throughout the dish.

A big pot of warm, delicious, hearty hamburger soup and fresh cornbread or corn muffins is a welcome meal on a cold, snowy winter’s day. The soup is fabulous from the onset of fall to late spring but is actually very good any time of the year. Fresh vegetables from the garden enhances the taste of the soup during summer and early fall months.

It seems you can never make too much hamburger soup and it is a great way to make use of leftover vegetables. For those rare occasions when you have leftovers, they are freezable. The following recipe will make a very large pot of soup and will serve a family of four or five people for two days. For smaller families and those who do not want the soup two consecutive days, freeze portions of it in zip closure freezer bags for a quick meal another day. You will need a very large stock pot, a canning kettle, or a heavy aluminum roaster to prepare this recipe.

HAMBURGER SOUP

INGREDIENTS:

2 Pounds hamburger meat

4 Pounds Russet potatoes

1 Large onion, diced

1 Tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon dried sweet basil

2 teaspoons salt

1/4 Cup fresh, chopped parsley

2 28 ounce cans diced tomatoes

28 ounces of tomato juice

1 15.5 ounce can green beans

1 15.5 ounce can whole kernel corn

1 15.5 ounce can sweet peas

1 15.5 ounce can sliced carrots

black pepper, to taste

additional salt, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

* Peel and rinse the potatoes. Dice them into approximately one inch cubes. Place the potatoes and 2 teaspoons of salt in a very large stock pot, canning kettle, or an aluminum roaster. Cover in water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender but still firm. Remove from heat.

* While the potatoes are boiling, peel and dice the onion. Place 1 tablespoon cooking oil in a large skillet and bring it to medium heat. Add the diced onion and saute approximately 3 minutes before adding the hamburger meat to brown. Drain any excess fat from the meat and set aside.

* Drain the water from the potatoes. Add the hamburger and onion mixture to the potatoes.

* Add the 2 cans of diced tomatoes and 28 ounces of tomato juice to the pot. Add the basil, minced garlic, and parsley. Stir well. Bring to a simmer.

* While the ingredients in the pot are simmering, open and drain the liquid from the canned vegetables. Add the drained peas and drained corn to the pot.

* Take a paring knife and run through the can of green beans, dicing the pieces in half before adding to the pot of soup. Run the paring knife through the can of carrots, dicing the slices in half or less before adding to the pot.

* Stir ingredients in the pot well. Add black pepper to taste and additional salt to taste. Simmer 30 minutes-1 hour, stirring occasionally, before serving. While the soup is simmering prepare your cornbread or corn muffins for the oven.

Potatoes and most vegetables added to a pot after tomatoes have been added stop the cooking process. By using tomato juice in lieu of water the soup will have a much better taste. Everything that is added to the pot is cooked except the parsley, which is for flavoring. Simmering allows the soup to absorb the taste of the spices and herbs.

You and your family will absolutely love this nutritious, scrumptious soup. Once you try making hamburger soup you will probably never bother with boiling stew beef for soup again.