Autumn Soup

This recipe is known as Autumn Soup, and it really is a great soup for autumn (and winter too). It’s made with ground beef and veggies like carrots, potatoes, and onion, so it’s inexpensive, but also warm and delicious. This recipe was originally a microwave recipe, but I usually make it on the stove these days.

Ingredients
1 lb (400g) lean ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
4 cups (950mL) hot water
3 cubes beef bouillon
2 cups ½-inch diced potatoes
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
½ teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 bay leaf
14-oz (400g) can diced tomatoes, undrained

Japan notes: here in Japan, beef can be expensive, so I sometimes make this soup with ground beef/pork mixture, or of course you can lower the amount of meat you use in the soup with no problem.

Instructions

Put ground beef, onion, and celery in a saucepan; cook and stir until meat is browned.

Add hot water, bouillon cubes, potatoes, carrots, basil, pepper, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then simmer until potatoes are tender (about 15 minutes).

Remove the bay leaf. Stir in tomatoes and their juice. Cook for a few minutes more until back to a simmer, then turn off the heat and serve.

This soup is great together with bread or biscuits. My family always ate it with baking powder biscuits.

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Homemade Vegetable Bouillon

This isn’t the most attractive recipe I’ve made, but its lack of aesthetic appeal is definitely made up for in convenience and taste. This “bouillon” is more like a paste made of vegetables and salt; it can be kept in the freezer and used anywhere you’d use stock or bouillon, or anytime you need some salt and extra flavor.

Ingredients
3 cloves garlic
2 oz celery (I like to use the leafy ends)
2.5 oz leeks (Japan notes: I use negi, or “long green onion”)
3.5 oz carrots
1/3 oz parsley
2 oz tomato, chopped (canned is okay)
1 oz spinach leaves
2 oz onion
2.5 oz salt

Note on ingredients: I used what I had leftover and what was on sale at the grocery store today. You can vary this up using different green and colored vegetables to get the flavor you like.

Instructions

Blend all vegetables in a food processor until finely ground. Add salt and mix well.

Store in the freezer; the salt will prevent the paste from freezing through.

To use: I like 1 tsp of bouillon to 1 cup of water, but adjust this to taste.

This recipe makes a good quantity; about 2 cups. That would be 96 tsp, resulting in about 96 cups (= 6 gallons) of stock. Feel free to cut down the amounts to make less.