Monday, April 25, 2022

V is for Vegetable Soup


#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter

I'm a picky eater, but my son? Gahhh!!! He only ate about five things from three until well into college: pizza, hamburgers, chicken legs, beans. It was aggravating, to say the least, but the fifth food he ate is what prevented him from getting scurvy or rickets or something: the kid loved soup. He would eat pretty much anything if it was in a soup. Fortunately, we are a family of soup eaters, and I made it fairly often, especially in the fall and winter. Our favorite was plain old vegetable soup.

I grew up on vegetable soup, which my mom made when we had leftover roast beef. At some point in the early to mid-1970s, though, EVERYONE'S mom in the Kansas City area started making vegetable soup from a recipe originated by the Plaza III restaurant on the Country Club Plaza and known as Plaza III Steak Soup (and which was made with ground beef and not really steak, although the restaurant's recipe says they used ground steak; I assure you, none of the home cooks were doing it that way!). I once babysat our neighbor's kids when I was in junior high, and the kids wanted leftover Steak Soup as their bedtime snack. It was truly that good!

When I went to college and eventually got an apartment of my own, my mom showed me how to make this Steak Soup. I could eat on it for a week and still have leftovers to put in the freezer. Over the years, my vegetable soup recipe took on some subtle changes from the original Steak Soup, but most of the key elements were there.

I looked up the recipe today when I decided to make vegetable soup for my "V" entry in the A to Z Challenge:

Here's what makes this soup special from any other vegetable soup you will eat: it's the butter and the beef bouillon. I know this because I haven't used those ingredients in my vegetable soup in so long that I didn't even remember that I USED to until I read the recipe today. 

I did remember a couple of changes my mom made that I fully believe are worth veering off the recipe directions. After browning the ground beef and draining it, I put the butter (and I only used half a stick of butter and felt like it was plenty rich that way) into the pan with the meat and after it had mostly melted, I stirred in the flour. I then added the beef bouillon granules, the hot water, onion, potatoes instead of carrots (because it isn't vegetable soup to my family without potatoes), frozen mixed vegetables (see? didn't need extra carrots), canned tomatoes, and pepper and brought it to a boil, then let it simmer for about an hour (or until the potatoes are done). I tasted it and decided to add a little more bouillon granules, and the soup was perfection! 

Beef browned and butter added

Gotta have taters in vegetable soup

Frozen mixed vegetables

Ingredients in a pot

An hour later, and it's hot and delicious soup!

My husband, who is NOT a picky eater but knows good food, said it was fantastic! He was amazed what a difference it made to have that butter in the soup. 

Yearning for some comfort food? MAKE THIS. Add some Easy Peasy Breadsticks and you've got yourself a meal!



  1. First, you make a roux...

    That's how all the great recipes start, butter and flour mixed and browned, that's what makes a gumbo rich, that's what makes any soup or stew better.

    Of course, we tend to cook our roux until it's as dark as the cast iron pot it's being cooked in, it does make a difference.

  2. This soup sounds good. I think I will try to make it. Thanks for the recipe.

  3. Looks yummy. I do love soup!!!! I think that I'd like to try that recipe.