I have always loved old school diners. There is just something about collapsing into those cozy booths with the torn upholstery, meeting your waiter or waitress, and then choosing from endless stained pages of every possible comfort food in the American repertoire. Alone or in a group, young and old, rich or poor, everyone feels at home. One of my go-to’s when I do hit a diner has always been beef vegetable soup, and any diner worth their salt will have a good one at least once a week.
A good beef vegetable soup in my opinion has plenty of vegetables such as potatoes, carrots and peas that have cooked down and married with the broth they’re in; tender chunks of meat; and a rich tomatoey beef broth.
I’ve been working on a version that comes together quickly with ingredients you can keep on hand for a doable weeknight dinner. So here it is.
Weeknight Beef Vegetable Soup
- 1 lb package of ground beef, (I usually use organic 85/15)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 lb bag of mixed frozen vegetables (typically includes carrots, peas, green beans and sometimes corn)
- 6 cups beef stock, or water with 2 beef bouillon cubes
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 1 large potato, peeled and diced
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
In a Dutch oven or soup pot, brown ground beef, breaking down the larger chunks with a wooden spoon, and drain off any extra grease if desired. Add olive oil and chopped onion and fry for 2 or 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and paprika, and continue cooking for a minute or two. Then add all the other ingredients, stir and simmer, covered, for about an hour or more. Adjust seasonings to taste. If possible, cool a bit before serving. Even better reheated!