Father Knows Best — Dad’s Homemade Vegetable Soup

My dad knew a thing or two about making soup. I’m not sure where he picked up his knowledge of it, since his mother died when he was just 8 years old and he was shuffled around between relatives until he was old enough to hold a steady job as a 12- or 13-year-old.
Regardless, I would put his soup up against that of any of the well-know chefs our times.
His boiled dinner was one of my favorites as was his bean soup. Whenever we had ham, I could be sure that he would make either of those with the leftovers. And no matter which one he chose, we were never disappointed.
But beyond a doubt, No. 1 on my list was his vegetable beef soup. Besides being loaded with lots of good vegetables and a tasty chuck roast cut into chunks, it contained Mom’s homemade egg noodles, which gave it a consistency that it otherwise wouldn’t have had.
I can remember sometimes coming home late at night in the late fall or winter and finding a kettle of the soup cooling on the back porch. And I would eat some of it to my heart’s content.
I’m going to work on a batch of the vegetable soup this afternoon, right after digging up the two rows of carrots in my garden. My mom is coming over to help me with this chore. I’ve counted on her to help do this every fall for about the past 15 years. Maybe I can talk her into making some homemade noodles this year.
Vegetable Beef Soup
4 quarts water
1 2- to 3-pound chuck roast
10 carrots, diced
1 head of green cabbage, chopped
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 rutabaga, diced
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
1 32-ounce can tomato juice
½ cup pearled barley
Salt and pepper to taste
Homemade egg noodles (see note)
Place beef roast in water and cook until tender. Remove from pot and let cool. Add the remaining ingredients to pot and bring to a boil, adding cooled meat cut into bit-sized pieces. After soup comes to a boil, simmer for 2 to 3 hours or until vegetables are tender.
Note: To make homemade egg noodles, I beat two eggs with a fork and then add flour so the consistency thickens but is not too runny. When the soup is done cooking, drop egg mixture into the soup by the spoonful. After about 10 minutes or so, they should be done, and the soup can be served.
Beef and Barley Vegetable Soup
½ pound ground round
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 potato, peeled and chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
1 14.5-ounce can lower-sodium beef broth
1 14.5-ounce can no-salt-added whole tomatoes
2 cups lower-sodium vegetable juice cocktail
1 cup water
½ cup quick pearled barley
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
Hot pepper sauce, pepper and salt, to taste
Brown ground beef in skillet over medium high heat; drain. Place in slow cooker crock and add onion, carrots, potato, parsnip, garlic, pepper, basil, beef broth, tomatoes, vegetable juice cocktail and water. Cover and cook on low 7 to 9 hours.
Turn slow cooker to high. Stir to break up whole tomatoes. Stir in barley and frozen mixed vegetables. Cover and cook on high 30 minutes. Just before serving, taste and add hot pepper sauce, pepper and salt to taste.
Yield: Serves 8.