Mother’s Vegetable Beef Soup

Vegtable Beef Soup

My mother spent most of her life in the kitchen.  With 7 children and a hard working husband, she had plenty of hungry mouths to feed. Cooking was never her favorite past time- “let’s get this meal over with” she’d often say, but she managed to turn out some incredible down home cooking. She never used a recipe; never owned a recipe book but she made the best biscuits, cornbread, greens, grits and pies. All meat was fried and all vegetables were seasoned with bacon drippings. She was not a chef by any means, but that little woman was a fabulous southern cook and we were blessed with 3 hot meals everyday. Sadly, there are no recipes to pass down and these days, Mother is unable to recall those details.

This soup is one she made often. I recreated it as best I could by memory and added my own twist.  It is a savory, hearty meal that warms my soul on those chilly days and takes me back to that little house on the red dirt road.  Now if I could only re-create those biscuits.

Mother will be 98 on October 4th. Happy Birthday, Mary Helen. This one’s for you.

Vegetable Beef Soup

Serves 8-10

1-14 oz can diced tomatoes

1-15 oz can tomato sauce

½ pound stew beef, cut into bite size pieces

One large onion, chopped

1 large or 2 small stalks celery, sliced

2 14.5 ounce cans beef broth plus 1 can water

2 cups potatoes, small diced

2 carrots, sliced

¼ tsp tarragon

¼ tsp thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup elbow macaroni

1 cup frozen green peas

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, saute onions and beef until beef is browned and onions are soft. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the macaroni and peas. Simmer until potatoes and carrots are tender, 30-45 minutes. Add pasta, cook until tender, 10-15 minutes. Add peas.  Simmer 5 minutes more. Serve with cornbread.

me and mother

Mother’s Day 2013

Lemon Rosemary Garlic Chicken and Potatoes

Rosemary Lemon Chicken1

This dish is easy enough to put together for any weeknight meal and presents beautifully for a get together with company. The lemony, garlic, rosemary sauce is a welcome accompaniment to the tender, succulent chicken and vegetables. I chose to add carrots to the original recipe as they go well with red potatoes and adds nice color to the presentation.

Lemon,Rosemary,Garlic,Chicken and Potatoes
Southern Living JANUARY 2014

Makes 6 servings

You will need:
6 chicken legs
4 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin on
2 pounds small red potatoes
1/2 pound peeled carrots

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cut potatoes in half or quarters if too large.
Place a large roasting pan on the stovetop over 2 burners. Over medium high heat, add 3 tablespoons olive oil to pan. Place chicken skin side down in pan, add potatoes and carrots and cook until chicken starts to brown, 10-15 minutes.

While the chicken cooks, make the sauce. In a medium bowl, mix the following ingredients. The original recipe calls for 10 cloves of garlic, you can cut that amount in half for a milder garlic flavor.

1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 (3.5-oz.) jar capers, drained
2 lemons, sliced
10 garlic cloves minced
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil

Turn chicken over and cover in lemon sauce.
Bake for 50 minutes until chicken is done (165 degrees) and potatoes and carrots are tender. Spoon sauce over chicken and vegetables and serve.

Lemon Rosemary chicken 2