Poor Woman’s Soup

A friend commented on Facebook a while back, “I’ve started making soup and I can’t stop!”

Sister, I’m right there with you. It might still be in the 70s here, but the day we clicked off the AC, I started churning out soup like a madwoman.

Poor man’s soup was in regular (possibly too regular) rotation when I was a kid. My mom tore the recipe out of the Seattle Times and proceeded to throw it together after work about once a week. Making it again as an adult, I can see why this was so popular with her: it’s fast and nourishing, and requires simple ingredients that are likely already on hand in your pantry and freezer.

Now, time to talk about frozen vegetables. We’re supposed to be eating in season these days, both to lessen the burden of shipping from tropical climes and to maximize the nutrients contained in the fruits and vegetables we do consume. Right now I’m completely on board with that, but probably only because summer vegetables are still somehow available in the South. In January I’ll be singing a different tune, I promise. Kale and sweet potatoes only cut it for so long.

Here’s where frozen vegetables step in. As opposed to veggies sold fresh, which are picked when still unripe and lose many of their nutrients in the shipping process, frozen veggies are picked when fully ripe and at their peak nutrition. In January, frozen corn has more nutrients than corn on the cob. Also, there’s a good chance that if you buy frozen corn in the U.S., it only came from California, whereas fresh corn could be from Chile.

It certainly won’t qualify you for the locavore movement, but finding out where your food comes from, and refusing oranges that needed a passport to reach you, is a good start to sustainable eating. Frozen vegetables can play a part, too. If you’re proactive about it over the summer (which I definitely wasn’t), you can buy fresh local vegetables, blanch, and freeze them yourself. (Look at you, locavore! High-five for the planet!)

While you’re thinking about your carbon footprint, make this soup, and perhaps a loaf of gluten-free bread for some toast. Saving the world can be pretty tasty.


Poor Woman's Soup
Serves 6
I used ground beef, but any other type of ground meat (or non-meat, like tempeh) would be tasty, too. If you can, support a local rancher or butcher for fresh, tasty meat raised responsibly.
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Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
  1. 1 lb. lean ground beef
  2. 1 medium onion, diced
  3. 2 carrots, diced
  4. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  6. 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  7. salt & pepper, to taste
  8. 1/2 c. dry red wine
  9. 2 c. frozen vegetables (I used peas, corn, & lima beans)
  10. 1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes
  11. 1/4 c. tomato paste
  12. 4-6 c. good vegetable broth
  1. Heat your soup pot over medium heat, and crumble in the beef when it's hot. Saute until browned, chopping up with a spatula as you go. Drain off fat & throw it out.
  2. Add onion, carrot, garlic, rosemary, and thyme to the pot. Cook about 5 minutes until onions start to become translucent. Season with salt & pepper. Raise heat to medium-high and pour in wine. Deglaze the bottom of the pot, scraping up any browned bits, and cook about 2 minutes until wine is largely evaporated.
  3. Pour in remaining ingredients and put a lid on the pot. Allow to come to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15 minutes. Taste and adjust salt and pepper, then serve.
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