Meat & Vegetable Soup

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serve

    6–8

Appears in

You’ll need the largest stockpot you’ve got to make this nutritious and tasty soup. A bit of everything goes in here and you can take it straight to the table as a complete meal with your favourite bread. You could leave out the meat and use just vegetables, if you like, adding a couple more varieties. I use very lean beef here but, if you like the taste of the fat, make sure you buy a good piece of meat and don’t trim it. Keep the cut-up potatoes in a bowl of cold water or cut them up later while the soup is cooking, as they only need to go in for the last 40 minutes. This is an abundant amount of soup that will serve many and still give you leftovers and enough time the next day to make a cake.

Ingredients

  • 500 g(1 lb2 oz) stewing beef (silverside, topside)
  • about 650 g(1 lb7 oz) very ripe tomatoes
  • 2 leafy celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 handful parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 allspice berries
  • 4 smallish zucchini (courgettes), chopped
  • 400 g(14 oz) potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • olive oil, to serve
  • grated parmesan cheese, to serve

Method

Cut up the meat into pieces about the size of Turkish delight, or smaller if you would prefer to find them that way in your bowl later. Put them in a large pot and cover with about 2.5 litres(87 fl oz/10 cups) of cold water. Bring to the boil, skimming the surface until it is clear. Simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the core out of each tomato and cut a cross on the bottom. Drop them into the boiling meat broth for about 20 seconds, until they wrinkle and the skin starts to come away. Lift them out with a slotted spoon, peel them and chop them up. Add to the meat pot with the celery and carrots and bring back to the boil, skimming the surface again if necessary. Add the parsley, bay leaves and allspice berries, counting how many you put in so you know exactly how many to fish out before serving. Season with salt, lower the heat and simmer for about 1½ hours, uncovered at first until the liquid level reduces a bit, and then covered. Add the zucchini and potatoes about 40 minutes from the end. Taste that there is enough salt and add pepper, if you want. Check the liquid level, adding a little more water towards the end if you prefer it more soupy than stewy. Serve warm, with parmesan and olive oil drizzled over the top of each serving.