Recipe Corner: Spring Vegetable Beef Soup

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Ingredients:

1 pound lean beef (or lamb) stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes, seasoned with salt and pepper, tossed in flour

4 tablespoons olive oil (or unsalted butter)

1 14.5-oz. can crushed tomatoes

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 cup yellow onions, chopped or 10 small pearl onions peeled and left whole

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1 cup zucchini or summer squash, cut into chunks

1 pound green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths, or frozen peas

1/2 pound carrots, sliced into thick coins1/2 pound rutabagas, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks

2 medium leeks, well-washed and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

Salt, pepper, dill, tarragon, or paprika to taste

1 tablespoon dried crushed oregano

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 bay leaf

2-3 cups hot low-sodium beef or vegetable broth, water

1/2 cup dry white wine, optional

1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Warm pita bread, chopped mint, fresh herbs, fresh lemon wedges

Preparation:

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot. Add the beef (or lamb), toss, and cook until beef is browned. With a slotted spoon, remove beef to a bowl and set aside.

Add the tomatoes, garlic, onions, vegetables and tomato paste to the same pot, and stir constantly until vegetables are softened. Stir in spices, lemon juice, and bay leaf. Add the browned meat, and stir in the broth, wine, and some water to slightly cover the meat and vegetables.

Bring to a full boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 50-60 minutes. Stir occasionally, adding more broth or water, if needed. Stir in parsley and cook for another 10 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Serve with warm pita bread, chopped mint, fresh herbs, and fresh lemon wedges.

Note: This soup keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days, but you may need to thin it with beef broth when you reheat it because it thickens up a lot when chilled. For more ideas about spring soups, go to: https://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/spring-soups

Serves 6.

*Christine’s recipes have been published in the Fresno Bee newspaper, Sunset magazine, Cooking Light magazine, and at https://www.thearmeniankitchen.com/

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