Ma and Nanny’s Carolina Beef Vegetable Soup
Mitzi Blackmon learned to make this hearty soup from her grandmother Lottie Bell and her mother, Barbara, who both lived in Anderson, South Carolina. Her grandparents always maintained a large garden, from which they sourced most of the vegetables that went into their soup.
While Mitzi uses partly frozen vegetables for convenience, she tries to always use organic products, including her seasonings, as well as minimal sugar and no MSG. You’ll note amounts are omitted; like her grandmother and mother before her, Mitzi never measures her ingredients, instead using her experience and taste tests to guide her.
“We love to share and put the soups up on the freezer,” Mitzi says, noting that she also sends soup home regularly with her son, since he works all day and attends nursing school at night, leaving little time to prepare nutritious meals. What better way to say, “I love you”?
Onion seasoning mix to taste
Steak rub to taste
Roasted garlic and herbs seasoning blend to taste
Organic ground black pepper to taste
Salt to taste
3 Tbs. oil
1 roast beef
2 large cartons beef broth
1 large onion (chopped)
2-3 celery stems (sliced into small pieces)
10 small potatoes (skin on or off as preferred, cut into small cubes)
1 ½ bags frozen mixed vegetables
2 bags frozen okra
1 bag frozen corn
2 28-oz. cans diced tomatoes
2 cans Rotel
1 or 2 15-oz. cans tomato sauce
Sprinkle roast beef on top and bottom with seasonings and place into a crockpot the night before the day you plan to serve it. If desired, brown the meat first in a skillet with 3 Tbs. oil. Cook on low overnight, about 8 hours.
The next day, remove the meat from the crock pot, allow it to cool, then cut it into cubes and place into a large pot. Cover with the broth from the crock pot and add the onion, celery and potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are done, then add remaining ingredients and allow to simmer for an hour or so.
Add cornbread or cheese toast to make this a hearty meal that’ll keep you warm for hours.
Hungarian Pea Soup with Nokedli
Agi Lurtz admits to not being a big soup eater, nor is she a fan of peas. “However,” she says, “there is something about this soup that is so good, and so hardy, it warms you on a cold day. And, when you add the chicken, it can be your entire meal.” Agi generally makes a big pot of this soup because it freezes well. If you wish to make less, she says, reduce the amount of water and ingredients proportionately.
Agi encourages people to personalize this soup by adding their favorite ingredients, such as cut frozen carrots and minced onions.
3 ½-4 quarts water
1 Tbs. of soup base (chicken bouillon or other; Agi’s favorite is made by BENDE and is called Super Veg.)
2 26-oz. cans cream of mushroom soup (or cream of chicken, if preferred)
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
1 ½ Tbs. minced garlic (fresh, in the jar or freeze-dried in the spice section)
1 ½ tsp. garlic powder
2 Tbs. minced garlic
6 Tbs. Hungarian or Spanish paprika
1 ½ Tbs. hot paprika (optional)
24 ozs. frozen peas
Pancake syrup (optional)
(Optional) Cooked chicken breast, cut into small pieces. (You can also use leftover turkey or roasted chicken if you have leftovers.)
Bring water to a boil, then turn the heat down to slightly less than boiling and add cream of mushroom or chicken soup, garlic, garlic powder, soup base and black pepper. Stir well and mix in the cream of mushroom or chicken soup until it blends in with your soup base. Hold back on the peas for now (Agi uses the frozen peas to take the boiling water down if it starts to boil over, especially while adding the Nokedli—a trick she learned from her mom).
Nokedli is basically homemade dumplings and are super easy and fast to make. When making it for this soup, Agi adds a dab of the dough directly into the boiling soup. She likes to mix this up while waiting for the large pot of water to boil.
3 cups white or wheat flour (all-white, or 2 cups white and 1 cup wheat)
1 cup milk (whole, 2%, or 1%)
2 large eggs
½ tsp. salt
1/8th tsp. pepper
In a medium-sized bowl, mix up all the ingredients until you get a sticky dough consistency. Add additional flour or milk, if needed. Unless you have a Spaetzle maker, the quickest and easiest way to make the noodles is to grab a smaller spatula and a dinner knife. Load up the spatula with some dough, hold over the boiling soup, and use the dull side of the knife to push small amounts of the dough into the soup, one-by-one. (You can also use two teaspoons, but it tends to take longer.) Make the noodles as small or large as you like.
If the soup starts to boil over, use the frozen peas to knock it down before it boils over. Once you’ve used up all the dough, add any remaining frozen peas, and cook for another 10 minutes or longer.
Now would be the time to add the pre-cooked chicken or turkey, if you wish. Once the chicken is heated, the soup is ready to serve, unless you decide to add the pancake syrup. If so: Turn off the heat and add in one squirt (approximately a tablespoon), of pancake syrup and stir well. It’s optional, but it does give it an extraordinary flavor.
Serve with bread. Note: This soup gets better when you cook it for 30 minutes or more. And it’s even better the next day!