Vegetable Beef Soup Like Great-Grandma Vera Mae's

April 18, 2021
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Photo by Rocky Luten. Prop Stylist: Amanda Widis. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog.
Author Notes

Vegetable beef soup is one of those recipes that reminds me of my Midwest roots and takes me back to childhood, when I stood beside my great grandmother in the kitchen, watching her make something out of nothing.

Whenever it started to cool down in Kansas City, Great-Grandma Vera Mae would pull out her heavy-duty pot and make a hearty vegetable beef soup. It was one of those soups that ate like a whole meal. It had tons of vegetables simmered down in an herby tomato broth with thick chunks of ground beef.

As a kid, I remember despising the lima beans in the soup and picking them out to get to the meat and potatoes, then hiding them in my paper towel. I think she knew what I was doing all along, but let me get away with it.

To make my own version of this soul-warming soup, I use chuck roast. The recipe, however, is very forgiving, so you can also use ground beef, stew meat, or double-down on the veggies. Likewise, you can use red or yellow potatoes instead of Russet, and frozen lima beans and okra instead of green beans and peas.

I start by seasoning, flouring, and browning the beef. The flour gives the broth a little more body. If needed, cook your beef in batches—make sure not to overcrowd the pot, otherwise your beef will steam and turn grey.

Once the beef is browned (not completely cooked), remove it from the pan and add in your denser stalk and root vegetables like onions, carrots, celery, and potatoes, since they take longer to break down. Because they will be cooking for a while, you want to cut these vegetables thickly so they don’t turn into mush. When they start to get some color, I add back the beef along with canned tomatoes, seasonings, and broth, and let everything cook down.

Once the meat is tender, I toss in frozen vegetables. I use individually packaged green beans, peas, and corn, but you can also use mixed vegetables. These only need 10 minutes to heat up before I’m cozying up to my own hearty bowl of vegetable beef soup. Each bite of tender beef and brothy veg takes me back to that curious little girl watching her great grandmother make magic in the kitchen. —Meiko And The Dish

  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Serves 6
  • 1 1/2 pounds beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound Russet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, thickly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their liquid
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Creole (or all-purpose) seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 5 cups unsalted or low-sodium beef broth
  • 3/4 cup frozen green beans
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
In This Recipe
  1. Season the meat with 1 teaspoon of the salt, 1 teaspoon of the pepper, and the flour.
  2. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat, add the oil and just enough meat to form a single layer. If needed, brown the meat in batches so that you don’t overcrowd the pot. Cook, flipping as needed, for 3 to 4 minutes, until browned on all sides. Use a slotted spoon to remove meat from the pot and transfer to a plate. Repeat this process until all the meat is browned.
  3. Add the potatoes, carrots, onion, and celery, and cook, still over medium, until the onions are translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add all the beef back to the pot, along with the canned tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, Creole seasoning, Italian seasoning, bay leaf, and beef broth. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any dark bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Cover and simmer for about 75 minutes, until the beef is tender.
  5. Stir in the green beans, peas, and corn and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  6. Remove the bay leaf, then taste the soup. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve warm.

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Meiko is corporate America retiree turned full-time foodie and host. Besides her obvious love of cooking she obsessed with designing foodie apparel, celebrity gossip sites and hosting elaborate dining experiences. She shares her recipes, kitchen hacks and entertaining tips on the blog Check it out!

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