Have you ever been in a ground beef rut? I found myself there recently when the ultimate question came up: What’s for dinner? In my mind, I thought through all my usual go-to recipes to possibly make my 1-pound package of ground beef shine – Penne casserole, spaghetti, stir-fry, hamburgers. None of those whet my whistle. I wanted something more. So, I took stock of my kitchen. Beef broth, check. Onion, garlic, check. Carrots, check. I knew where this was going. The true kicker? I had an unfinished can of tomato paste on the top shelf of my ‘fridge. Suddenly it was clear – Hamburger Soup!
All over the Southeast this winter, it’s been unusually warm. Soup made perfect sense on the first January day temperatures reached the 30’s. With a nice chill in the air, I set about chopping vegetables. I’ll be the first to tell you, I live to use my food processor – I do love a shortcut! But, there are times when nothing can replace the relaxing notion of knife-to-cutting-board. Exhibit A.
As easy as it is, this recipe requires a good deal of chopping. With red potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, celery, onions and garlic, it’s hearty and satisfying.
Brown the ground beef with celery, garlic and onion. I used lean ground beef, so there was very little fat to drain. If you’re using a ground chuck with more fat, such as 80/20, it’s very important to drain the meat before moving on. The very act of using a wooden spoon and a big stock pot together gets me excited.
Look how colorful and pretty this soup becomes! Toss in all your remaining chopped vegetables – the bell pepper and carrots, then add a can of whole tomatoes including the juice. Use the wooden spoon to crush everything up.
Next up: Herbs and seasonings! Fresh parsley and thyme add a fragrant and bright note. I also threw in some dried oregano and a few bay leaves. Season with sea salt, black pepper and a dash of cayenne pepper for extra kick! The house really begins to smell scrumptious at this point.
Add in the potatoes ( I almost forgot them!), then cover everything with beef stock. You’ll need about three cups to start, and more if you like it real soupy. You can also use water if you don’t have enough beef stock to go around. I used 2 cups beef stock and 1 cup of water. Add in the tomato paste to help the soup thicken up.
This is the moment I felt like Remy from my favorite Disney movie, Ratatouille. A little of this, a little of that…give it a good stir!
Bring the soup to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and let the soup simmer for about 25-30 minutes until the potatoes are tender and the flavors have married. The warm beef stock coupled with the soft vegetables and flavorful ground beef are the ultimate comfort.
Garnish with parsley and a little freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Serve with crusty bread, or in my case, leftover Red Lobster biscuits. Dig in!
I took a page out of The Pioneer Woman’s book for this recipe! I used mostly fresh herbs and less ground beef, because it’s what I had on hand. Thanks, Ree!
- 1 pound Lean Ground Beef
- 1 whole Large Onion, Diced
- 2 stalks Celery, Diced
- 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
- 1 can (14.5 Ounce) Can Whole Tomatoes
- 3 cups Beef Stock, Plus More As Needed
- 1 whole Yellow Bell Pepper, Seeded And Diced
- 1 whole Red Bell Pepper, Seeded And Diced
- 1 whole Orange Bell Pepper, Seeded And Diced
- 2 whole Carrots, Peeled And Sliced On The Diagonal
- 5 whole Red Potatoes, Cut Into Chunks
- 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 2 teaspoons Fresh Parsley
- 2 teaspoons Fresh Thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
In a large pot over medium-high heat, brown the meat with the onion, celery, and garlic. Remove the pot from the heat and drain off as much fat as you can. (Discard the fat once it cools.)
Return the pot to the heat and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir to combine, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, then cover the pot and simmer the soup for 20-30 more minutes, until potatoes are tender.
Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt if needed. Enjoy!