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
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.
Mother’s Day 2013