“Oh Lord you want a recipe??? Mom never had a recipe!!! But… I can show you how she did it :)”
I had a great conversation going over on the COOKHOUSE’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/kimberlyscookhouse Sometimes it’s the simplest of things that we have the most to say about. I’m sure that’s because we have common ground. After all, who grew up eating vegetable beef soup on a cold winter’s day… ALL of us (or mist of us). The simple question I asked was what one ingredient is your favorite and a must add for your Vegetable beef soup. (of course beef, tomatoes and potatoes seem to be a staple for all) answers I got were not entirely surprising, corn, carrots, even cabbage made an appearance… there was the question of limas, butterbeans or green bean? Okra was another debate. It’s polarizing… you either love it or hate it. (I LOVE it) It adds a nice sweet flavor to the whole pot… I say add it, even if the texture makes you pull it out later. It was on that thread that someone who had bumped into me that day at the grocery store asked, “when will you post the recipe?”
“Ooo… well, later today. I certainly didn’t mind, but Lord help me. I don;t have a -recipe- I just know how mama did it”
So, ‘Heather from the grocery store’ …here ya go. My best tips on Cornbread and a how to on my Vegetable Beef Soup.
Top 5 Cornbread Tips:
(5) make your cornbread with buttermilk, then later you can pour a glass – crumble the cornbread in & enjoy spoon after spoon!
(4) all Cornmeals will all have a recipe on the back but if it doesn’t include these then add: a quarter cup of all purpose unbleached flour, buttermilk no matter what liquid it says, 1 stick of melted butter instead of “oil” and lastly (and unlike my mom) 2 tablespoons of sugar
(3) Find a NON GMO cornmeal, but first research for yourself why it’s so important!
(2) ALWAYS use cast-iron & heating it good first with some butter in the bottom is the best way to have that crispy outer crust!
(1) You can’t eat Vegetable Beef Soup without cornbread!
2 cups of organic non gmo corn meal (not mix)
1/4 cp of unbleached plain flour
2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tablespoon sugar (2 if you like sweet bread)
1 stick of melted real organic butter
pour into a preheated cast iron pan (if you melted the butter in that pan, then it’s nice and buttered and ready to go
Bake at 350-375 until golden brown highlights and firm
HOW TO MAKE MY VEGETABLE BEEF SOUP:
We are building flavors, here’s the first layer 3 or so slices of uncured organic bacon. Once reduced I add the beef. This can be a grass fed stew meat or ground beef (or bison or venison). I add my onions after the meat cooks about half way. I whole sweet onion of good size will do. One clove of garlic, chopped. Make a point to cut ALL veggies about the same size, not only for cooking consistency but for flavor consistency as well. Season these layers as you go with salt & pepper.
After the meat is done add one large can of diced tomatoes (homemade canned tomatoes, if your lucky) If you get bought, don’t get tomatoes flavored with something… just tomatoes. I also add one large carton (not bulk large just grocery store large) beef broth and one small chicken broth. Then in go the chopped veggies:
>3 potatoes (look for non go, they have them)
>4 organic carrots
>half an organic cabbage
>one small bag of baby limas
***let those firmer veggies cook a bit then when half way done add
>3 cans of organic corn
>bag of frozen okra
Make sure you season with salt and pepper as you go.
Taste as you go… when needed add seasoning: salt pepper, even powdered onion and garlic if needed. I also add one tablespoon of sugar. Let it simmer and reduce to a good constancy and the veggies are tender.
Enjoy, but know that when you heat it tomorrow… it will be even better!
Of course this is not the do all and end all of vegetable beef, use the veggies you can get, the ones you grow… the ones YOU like. Just remember “a little of this” and a “little of that” before you know it will feed a little country… so get a big pot… and no one pot will be identical but they will ALL be filled with the flavor of love!