I had such big plans for this weekend, none of which took place due to the weather. It has been so warm where I live (in the mid 60's everyday), and I really wanted to get out in the yard to plant a grapevine my uncle and aunt recently gave me. Instead, a sudden drop to 30 degree temperatures along with sleet and a bit of snow kept me inside. I spent the day cleaning around the house and cooking vegetable soup and peach crumb pudding, both with produce put up over the summer either by way of canning or freezing.
As much as I love cool weather foods like greens and root vegetables, there is nothing like the taste of summer in the dead of winter, especially on a cold and wet day like today. I get in the mood for this soup occasionally. It is a blast from the past for me. I grew up eating it on a fairly regular basis, and a bowl full of it takes me back to my mother's kitchen. It is chock-full of vegetables...carrots, lima beans, corn, green beans, and tomatoes. It is very versatile and adapts to whatever vegetables and quantities you have on hand. The base of the soup may seem like a strange concoction to some, but the V-8 and condiments give it a deep, well-rounded flavor. Admittedly, it is not a very photogenic food, so please excuse the poor quality photos.
My mother made and still makes this soup using bags of frozen chopped veggies from the grocery store, and it is perfectly delicious that way. Now that I have a deep freezer and have been able to preserve large amounts of vegetables, I use what I already have on hand. Either way, it is tasty. My mother also puts ground beef in her soup, and I have occasionally put about half a pound in mine, but I find that it is equally delicious without it, so I usually leave it out. A grilled cheese sandwich and/or a stack of saltine crackers fits perfectly alongside this no-frills soup. I have to admit, though, that when I eat this soup, I want an old fashioned grilled cheese with white bread and American cheese rather than any gussied up version. That is just how it was meant to be.
If you do not have a freezer full of vegetables, you can wait until summer and use fresh ones or purchase frozen veggies from the grocery. If you decide to purchase them, you will need a 16 oz bag of veggies for every quart bag called for in my recipe. Remember, you can adjust the quantities as you see fit, leaving things out, adding others, or adding more of your favorites. You really can't mess up this soup.
Vegetable Soup- serves 6, generously
1 quart bag of frozen corn kernels
1 quart bag of frozen, cut green beans
1 1/2 cups frozen lima beans
1 1/2 cups carrots, sliced
2-3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (optional)
1 pint jar canned diced tomatoes in their own juices
46 oz V-8 juice
1 heaping tsp minced garlic
1 tsp A-1 sauce
a dash of hot sauce
2 tsp Worchestershire sauce
1 tbsp ketchup
salt and pepper to taste (I usually add about 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper)
Thaw the vegetables enough to get them into the pot. Place all vegetables in a large pot on medium-high heat. Add the V-8 juice and the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 30-45 minutes until all vegetables are cooked through and tender. Season with salt and pepper, and adjust the taste with more ketchup or sauces if needed.