This old-fashioned vegetable beef soup might not be fancy, but it is a flavorful, satisfying soup that will please and delight the entire family. This recipe makes a big batch, but the leftovers won't go to waste; the soup is even better the next day!
Beef shanks, which are sometimes called "soup bones," add excellent flavor to soups and stews. Beef shanks usually offer a generous amount of meat. If the bones are not meaty, add a pound of diced beef chuck or round and sear it along with the beef shanks.
The soup is versatile as well. Feel free to add some other vegetables to the soup if you'd like. Add frozen peas or mixed vegetables about 30 minutes before the soup is ready. Or add some diced rutabaga and parsnips along with the carrots and potatoes.
If you use beef stock instead of water, try to use unsalted or low-sodium, and taste the stock before you add salt.
- 4 pounds beef shanks
- 2 tablespoons bacon drippings (or vegetable oil)
- 2 quarts cold water (or unsalted beef stock)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
- 1 small onion
- 5 medium carrots
- 1/2 pound fresh green beans (or frozen)
- 1 pound red-skinned potatoes (about 2 cups diced)
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup long-grain rice (or pearled barley)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Heat the bacon drippings or oil In a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the beef shanks and cook, turning, until well browned on both sides.
- Cover the beef with the water or stock; bring to a boil over high heat.
- Peel and chop the onions.
- Add 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and the chopped onion to the beef; cover the pan and simmer for 2 hours.
- Meanwhile, about 15 minutes before the 2 hours is up, peel and slice the carrots thinly (about 1/4-inch). Trim the green beans and cut them into 2-inch lengths. Peel the potatoes, if desired, and cut them into 1/2-inch dice. Slice the celery thinly.
- Add the remaining vegetables, diced tomatoes, and rice to the beef and onions.
- Cover the pan and simmer for about 1 hour longer. Remove meat from bones; discard the bones. Dice the meat and add it back to soup.
- Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings, as needed.
- Stir the parsley into the soup and serve hot with biscuits or crusty bread or rolls.
- Store the soup in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to 2 months. If you know you will be freezing the soup, cook the vegetables until just tender. They'll be less likely to fall apart on reheating. And make sure the soup is completely cooled before you freeze it. Place the pot in an ice bath to cool quickly.