When I was growing up, my grandpa (on my moms side) would make large batches of soup. This soup was a bit more of a stew, as it was very hearty and combined with a slice or two of bread, would be a complete meal. Grandpa was never much into fancy spices, purely a meat and potatoes kind of guy, and salt and pepper was about all he used. When he made large batches he (or Grandma) would can up a number of quarts and we would often get to take a bunch home.
Home canning was a way of life for my grandparents. They lived on a farm when my mom was born, and always had large gardens when they moved up to Michigan. Each summer they would can dozens of different items and had a well stocked pantry. Grandpa soup, as it was called in our family, was made from scratch using the veggies they produced in the garden. All that grandpa would add was some beef.
My mom, being tight for time raising 3 boys, would often open up a jar of his soup and call dinner “done”. Grandpas version was simple with Beef, tomatoes, peas, corn , carrots, onion and salt and pepper…that’s it. My version takes it up a notch and I sure grandpa would be proud.
Kevin’s Version of Grandpa Soup
3 to 4 pounds Beef (Chuck steak with nice marbling works well, but I have also used sirloin and recently boneless ribs)
1 large yellow onion
1 28 oz can Muir Glen Fire roasted Whole tomatoes (grandpa would use 2 quarts home canned tomatoes)
1 28 oz Can Muir Glen Fire roasted Crushed tomatoes
1 15 oz can of peas
1 15 oz can of whole corn
1 bag baby carrots
2-3 tbs canola oil
2 tbs margoram
2 tbs Thyme
1 tbs Garlic powder
1/3 bottle liquid smoke
Salt + pepper.
Slice beef into bit sized stew pieces (3/8″ thick x 1/2 to 3/4″ long) Brown meat in canola oil in heavy pot (I use my large cast iron dutch oven) Once browned add diced onion and continue until caramelized, add spices, reduce heat to medium and add tomatoes, and baby carrots that have been cut up to bit sized pieces.
Simmer for about an hour then add corn and peas. (If these are added to early the peas can get mushy) Add liquid smoke and continue simmer for another hour. Throughout these two long simmers, periodic stirring is needed.
For eating, a hearty french bread is great for dipping. Sometimes I’ll add dollop of sour cream to the top before digging in.
This makes a big batch, and I’ll sometimes freeze up about half for another day.