One of my favorite Christmas traditions as a child was when my uncle would arrive from L.A. to have Christmas with my parents, my Granny, and me. Granny would always make her vegetable soup (which is what she called it even though it has beef in it) and we would go pick out a Christmas tree to put in her house (I always got to decorate two trees – the best) and eat the soup for dinner after we decorated it. After Granny died, I took over soup-making responsibilities, and I still make it for my parents when I come home for winter break. I associate this soup with Christmas, but it’s really a great, hearty soup that can be made any time. Make a big batch and have leftovers or feed your friends!
1-2 lbs. stew beef (preferally grass-fed), cut into bite-sized pieces and trimmed of excess fat
1 TBSP coconut oil
1 TBSP olive oil
1 large can Roma tomatoes, peeled and chopped with the water
2 cans of corn, with liquid
2 cans of green beans, with liquid
1 can red beans, drained
1 can white beans, drained
2 cups of chopped red cabbage
1/2 carton beef stalk
3-7 cloves of garlic (as much as you want, really)
1 bay leaf
salt & pepper to taste
a glug or so of red wine
Melt coconut oil in a large skillet or frying pan over medium heat, and add cubed beef when hot. Salt it liberally. Make sure to turn it a few times so all sides are evenly browned. Remove from heat after about 5 minutes.
While beef is browning, chop up the cloves of garlic.
Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot, and add your garlic. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, then add the browned meat, beef stock, can of tomatoes, and bay leaf. Simmer these together for at least 20 minutes, until the beef is cooked through and tender.
I like to add to pour or so of red wine, it really brings out the flavor of the beef and the tomatoes.
I used this super cool bottle of Syrah, I think it’s called the Happiness Project. As my mom pointed out, I mostly wanted it for the bottle. But it also wasn’t expensive (as I like my wine to be), and that’s perfect for use in a sauce or soup because you won’t be able to taste the quality of the wine.
Once the beef and tomatoes have simmered together for about 20 minutes, add the cans of beans and corn and a large pour of beef stock to add some liquid. Add salt and pepper. Stir to combine and then simmer this for another 15 minutes.
Add the chopped red cabbage. I like to add this last because it keeps it crunchier, but if you want softer cabbage, feel free to add it with the rest of the veggies. Cook for another five minutes and then test to see if the beef is tender enough. If not, simmer longer. If it is tender to your liking, it’s done!
In my family, it’s traditional to serve this soup with a side of saltine crackers around the Christmas tree. I hope you enjoy!