Beef Vegetable Soup

For a borderline adventure this past weekend, I tried a new local branch of grocery stores instead of the usual Wal-Mart. I definitely prefer local markets to Wal-Mart because they usually have interesting sales going on. The grocery store, United, seems local to the Texas area because I never heard of the place in Indiana or Georgia. The main reason I went was because they had a sale where if you bought at least 2 lbs of beef stew meat you got a 5-lb bag of potatoes, a 1-lb bag of carrots, and the stew seasoning for free. Pretty good deal if I do say so myself. I also had a whole bunch of coupons because my latest obsession has been coupon clipping to save a little cash. I had a coupon for V8 juice, so I figured I would use half my stew meat to make some vegetable soup with beef and freeze the other half for stew later. I prefer beef vegetable soup make with vegetable juice as opposed to plain tomato juice because vegetable juice has so much more flavor. Canned organic vegetables were also on sale, so I stocked up and used some in this soup. I'm really glad I made a whole bunch of soup because the weather took a major down-turn here. The high was 64 degrees F on Monday but dropped to a high of 17 degrees F on Tuesday. Talk about erratic! Though classes were delayed until 11 am yesterday, it still didn't stop me from being chilled to the bone after my long walk from the bus stop. I was so happy to have a big steaming bowl of this soup, which is so filling thanks to the hearty vegetables and meat. The good thing about this soup is that you can customize it to your taste, substituting your favorite vegetables for the ones I have here. This soup was made in the crockpot so it has that long-simmered taste. I didn't skimp on flavor development, though, because I browned the meat separately and de-glazed the pan with broth. I feel that if you just put meat into the crockpot you lose the opportunity to add browned flavor. Pre-browning the meat is a great way to avoid that.

The chopped vegetables
Beef Vegetable Soup
Printable Recipe

non-stick cooking spray
1 lb lean beef stew meat, cubed
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 carrot,diced
1 large russet potato, peeled and cubed
1 cup frozen or canned green beans
1 cup frozen or canned corn
1 15-oz can petite diced tomatoes
3 cups beef broth
Looks good even before cooking!
1 1/2 cups vegetable juice
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp dried sage
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, spray with cooking spray, then add the meat. Brown the meat on all sides. Once the meat is browned, remove it and pour about half a cup of the beef broth in, scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the meat and the de-glazing liquid to the crock of your slow cooker.
2. Place the crock into the slow cooker and add all the remaining ingredients; stir thoroughly. Cook the soup on high for about 6 hours or low for about 8 hours or until the meat and potatoes are very tender.

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