This soup performed a miracle for our family. This was the first time my middle daughter (a.k.a., the Baker) ate soup, including the chunks of tomatoes and carrots. Hallelujah! I could have paid my neighbor for inviting the kids over impromptu one evening and showing them how to make (and EAT) hamburger soup, vegetables and all.
There are no rules for this soup, so it comes out a bit differently each time. I began with the original recipe from my neighbor, but when I got the basic idea down, I just added what veggies I had in the fridge. When I recently made this soup, it was absolutely the best version—probably because of the secret ingredient: leftover gravy. If you’re like I am, you have a moral dilemma when it comes to disposing of extra gravy. How can I throw the essence of a great meal down the drain? I can’t. So I usually end up putting it in soup.
Here are some parameters for our hamburger soup, but please experiment with what works for your family’s tastes.
adapted from foodie neighbor
- 1 pound ground beef or turkey
- 1 cup each of chopped carrots, onions, celery
- 1 clove crushed and diced garlic
- 1 28-ounce can of whole tomatoes
- 6 cups good-quality chicken broth (such as Pacific)
- 1 can beans (I use cannellini)
- 2 bay leaves
- leftover gravy (beef or turkey flavored)
- salt and pepper
- In a stock pot, brown the meat. Drain excess grease.
- Add the carrots, onions, celery, and garlic. Cook on medium heat until beginning to soften, about 8–10 minutes.
- Add the juice from the can of tomatoes; chop and add tomatoes.
- Add broth, beans, bay leaves, and gravy. Simmer for 20–25 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with crusty bread and a salad (if your little foodies will eat it!).
- Serves 6 with a bit leftover.