Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Hamburger Soup

Here is something I have not made for quite a while! Hamburger soup is a depression-era classic that was also a mainstay for me in my poor student days. Fortunately, in addition to being budget-friendly and easy, it's also very tasty. Bonus: it's made in one pot. I don't know why it fell off the roster for so long.

Like most soups made with pasta, leftovers don't keep well. I think next time I would make and divide the soup into 2 portions before I added the pasta, and then just add (half) the pasta as the portions are to be eaten.

This will serve 4, as a definite meal; you may like to serve it with some garlic bread or follow it with a baked pudding, but you may not wish to either. It depends, probably, on whether you are still a growing student who walks 10 miles a day or not.

4 to 6 servings
30 minutes prep time

Hamburger Soup

1 medium onion
1 cup finely chopped or grated peeled celeriac
OR 2 stalks of celery
1 medium carrot
6 to 8 white mushrooms
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
500 grams (1 pound) lean ground beef
a little mild vegetable oil if needed
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 bay leaves
4 cups chopped tinned tomatoes
2 to 4 cups water
2 cups finely chopped green cabbage
1 teaspoon rubbed basil OR oregano
100 grams (4 ounces) small pasta

Peel and chop the onion. Peel and chop the celeriac or celery. Peel and dice the carrot. Clean and chop the mushrooms. Peel and mince the garlic (set it aside separately).

If your ground beef is very lean, put a tablespoon or so of oil in a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot and heat over medium-high heat. If it isn't, put the beef into the soup pot and cook it until it renders a little fat. Add the onion, celery, and carrot, and cook, stirring regularly until the vegetables are softened and reduced a little in volume. Add the beef, if it is not in already, and cook it too, crumbling it into small chunks. Season the beef with salt and pepper as it cooks, and add the bay leaves. Mix in the mushrooms. Let this mixture simmer for 10 or 15 minutes, stirring regularly, until the vegetables are quite soft and the beef is cooked through and slightly browned. Add the garlic and let it cook in for a minute or so.

Add the tomatoes, being sure they are chopped into bite-sized pieces. You can use chopped tomatoes, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce in a pinch although I prefer something more like bits of tomato; whatever you have, or in the old days, whatever was on sale. Add water, the exact amount to depend on how soupy you would like your soup, and also how much water the pasta soaks up. Start with the smaller amount. You can add more later if you think it needs it.

When the soup is simmering again, add the basil or oregano and cabbage, and bring back up to a slow boil. Add the pasta, and cook for the amount of time suggested on the package for the pasta (or until it is in fact cooked as desired) and serve at once.

Last year at this time I made Red Cabbage with Cranberries & Lemon

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