I've been making this stew for so many years now, I've lost count. The original recipe is mostly my mother's and I've tweaked this version slightly for the freezer. Instead of referring back to my scribbled notes each time, I'm posting an update here just for me. If you have need of a HUGE recipe for a fantastic Italian Soup, this is for you too! If you have no need for a ginormous batch of this soup, I recommend making no more than half of this recipe, possibly even reducing it to a quarter of this size.
Remember the warning on my Spicy Five Bean Chili with Steak and Sausage? This recipe makes even more. It fills my TWELVE quart pot within two inches of the top. Why so much soup? Because, this is my family's favorite soup. My husband takes it to work with him for lunch at least once a week. Every single one of my boys requests this soup over all others and they eat every bite of it each time it is served. I keep 2 cup containers of this soup stacked in my freezer year round. This batch made enough for me to take a meal to a friend, serve my family and still stack 10 more servings in the freezer.
Hearty Italian Beef and Vegetable Stew
Yield: 24-36 servings
2 lbs ground beef
1 very large yellow onion, 2 cups diced small
2 lbs carrots, 8 cups peeled and sliced thin
1 bunch celery, 4-5 cups sliced thin
(3) 29 ounce cans petite diced tomatoes
(1) 29 ounce can crushed tomatoes
(1) 29 ounce can tomato sauce
3 cups cooked or (2) 14 ounce cans light red kidney beans
3 cups cooked or (2) 14 ounce cans great northern or cannellini beans
4 cups hot water mixed with 2 tablespoons beef base, I use Better Than Bouillon
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons freshly cracked kosher salt
29 ounce bag frozen green beans
29 ounce bag frozen corn
Optional: finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
In the bottom of an enormous stock pot, over medium high heat, cook and crumble the ground beef with the onions. Season with 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. When the beef is cooked, drain any excess grease. There is very rarely any substantial grease in this mixture when I cook it, but depending on the meat you are buying, you might need/want to drain it. Add all remaining ingredients, except for the frozen vegetables.
Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to about medium/low and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the carrots are slightly softened. After 20 minutes, add the green beans and corn and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for just a few minutes until the green beans and corn are tender.
Serve warm, topped with cheese if desired. Enjoy!
FREEZER MEAL: If you are interested in making this to keep in the freezer, be
careful to slightly under-cook the vegetables, as it makes the soup much
nicer when it is reheated. Mushy vegetables are never fun! Let the soup cool completely before transferring to freezer
safe containers. Soup can be heated in the microwave or it can be thawed first
and then reheated on the stove-top.
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