A Tumble into Autumn: Beef Vegetable Soup

It seems that fall has come to Chicago while we were playing in Denver with my brother and sister-in-law last week. The roaring winds have arrived, to knock the leaves from the trees, and waves crash upon the beach to lull us to sleep.

While I love fall, and all of the wonderful harvest vegetables – after a sunny, warm week in Colorado, it all feels like a bit of a shock. I came home from my first day back at the office chilled to the bone from a cold bike ride, and sorted through the bits and bobs in the crisper to pull together the first soup of the season. Lucky for me, I had everything I needed on hand for the perfect pot of beef vegetable soup.

But just to remember the beautiful days in Denver, here are a few photos from our day hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Mike & Lisa took us to the top of the mountains – above 12,000ft – and we went from 80 degree temperatures at their house to 45 degrees and hiking up a slope in the snow to stand in some fierce winds on top of the mountain. It was awesome. Next time I’ll forgo the sandals for proper footgear for a walk in the snow, though!

Mark and I by the side of the road, with a breathtaking view of the mountains behind us.

After a chilly stroll in the heights of the mountains, we came back down to a quiet valley and took a walk, just as the sun was crossing the mountains, providing that perfect late afternoon golden light. On our way back from this hike we saw a couple of elk grazing, and later spotted many more on our drive out of the park.

It was a perfect vacation, and I may have to hold onto the memories of our sun-filled days in Colorado to make it through the long Chicago winter ahead. In the meantime, there is soup. A hearty vegetable soup can comfort and thaw chilled bones in a few spoonfuls.

Beef Vegetable Soup
Serves 7
220 calories per serving, 70cal from fat, 8.3g fat, 35g carbs, 20mg cholesterol, 720mg potassium, 700mg sodium, 4g fiber, 10g sugar, 14.9g protein

1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 stalks celery, diced
1 quart stewed tomatoes
2.5 cups chicken stock
2.5 cups water
3 cloves garlic
1 beef soup bone, about 1lb
1 cup fresh corn (from about two ears)
2 cups diced red new potatoes (about 4-5 small potatoes)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T dried basil
1 T minced fresh rosemary
1 T dried oregano
red pepper flakes to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving, optional.

  1. Put 1 tablespoon oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. When hot, add onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring, until onion softens, about 10 minutes or so.
  2. Add dried and fresh herbs and garlic. Cook, stirring, for a minute or two, then add the potatoes, chicken stock, water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so mixture bubbles gently. Cook, stirring every now and then, until potatoes are tender – about 45 minutes. Add the sweet corn, and cook for another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding salt, pepper and additional red pepper flakes if desired.
  3. Use tongs to remove the soup bone from the pot and set aside to cool for a couple minutes. Then, trim off any remaining fat, and remove the meat from the bone, shredding it into bite-sized pieces. Add the beef back to the pot, and serve with a bit of grated parmesan over each bowl.

4 thoughts on “A Tumble into Autumn: Beef Vegetable Soup

  1. Oh my goodness! You have to tell me which day you went to RMNP! We went Saturday. Were we there the same day?? How crazy would that be!

  2. Welcome back – looks like an awesome trip! I've never been to CO but I'm sure it was nicer than our crazy weekend and now-cold weather!

  3. We were in RMNP on Saturday – it was so amazing! It was an incredible trip, and our favorite "non rock cruise" vacation to-date.

  4. mmmmm. Just made a batch last week. A great winter soup and a meal in itself with a big crusty piece of bread and a glass of red. It also seems to be a very american soup.I have only seen it made here in the US.

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