When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Autumn soup

Summer suddenly seems to have disappeared with the return of school yesterday, leaving in its place some cooler, grayer, rainier weather. This made me think of soups, and stews, and roasts, and many other wonderful comfort foods that we haven't enjoyed in a while and that will be welcome family fare for the change in seasons ahead. On the menu for this evening at our house is Autumn Soup, a hearty and flavourful mixture that is both warmth and nourishment in a bowl.

This soup recipe is based on one that my mom taught me to make. She has always been a wonder at taking ground beef and combining it with some of this, a little of that, and turning it into something delicious. I still consult the original soup recipe copied in her handwriting which she gave to me when I went to university, and I still think of her and home every time we enjoy this meal!

Autumn Soup

1 lb lean ground beef (I prefer organic, grass-fed beef, for health reasons, and because its flavour is excellent in this soup)
1 small onion, diced
approximately 1 cup of each of the following: diced carrot, diced celery, and potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 bay leaf
sea salt and pepper to taste
1 796ml can of diced tomatoes plus one full can of water
a handful or two of roughly chopped kale

In a large saucepan, cook ground beef over medium-high heat until beef is browned.
Add onion, carrots, celery, potatoes, basil, sea salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened.
Add tomatoes, water, and bay leaf and bring soup mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
Before serving, add kale to soup and stir, heating until leaves are just wilted.
Ladle soup into bowls and enjoy!

I have made this soup in various ways over the years; sometimes I substitute brown rice macaroni for the potatoes. (I cook the pasta in a separate pot, drain and rinse it, and then add it to the soup just before serving). Sometimes I substitute spinach leaves for the kale. All of the variations still result in a steaming bowl of healthy soup that's easy to make and that everyone enjoys. As my mom wrote on the bottom of my copy of her recipe, "Good stuff!".

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