Brisket And Vegetable Soup

I love homemade vegetable soup. My mother used to make this from time to time, and it was never often enough. (She also served us Campbell’s vegetable soup, which instructed us in the differences between prepared and homemade.) I rediscovered this style of vegetable soup when I started going to old places like Tujague’s, Galatoire’s, and Maylie’s, where they used the stock from boiling briskets to make the soup.

What gives this soup a great edge is to boil all the vegetables except the carrots (which lend a nice color to the soup) separately, not in the soup itself. That way, when you add them right before serving, they’re all vivid and firm and full of flavor.

  • 1 1/2 gallons brisket stock
  • A pound or two of boiled brisket (optional)
  • 1 28-oz. can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand, with juice
  • 1 small cabbage, cored and chopped coarsely
  • 1 onion, cut up
  • 1 turnip, peeled and cut into half-inch cubes
  • 2 lbs. carrots, cut into coins about a half-inch thick
  • 2 lbs. red potatoes, peeled and cut into half-inch cubes
  • 1 lbs. fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into one-inch pieces
  • 4 ribs celery, cut into three-inch-long, narrow sticks
  • 2 ears corn, kernels cut off the cobs
  • 1/2 tsp. basil
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. Tabasco
  • 2 Tbs. salt

1. Put the brisket stock into a kettle or stockpot. Add the canned tomatoes and juice, after crushing them with your fingers. Bring the stock to a light boil, the lower to a simmer. Cut the brisket (if you’re including it) into large cubes, removing any interior fat. Add the meat to the stock.

2. Bring a separate stockpot three-quarters full of water to a light boil. As you cut the vegetables in the order given in the ingredient list, add them to the pot. (Some vegetables take longer to cook than others.)

3. When the potatoes and carrots are soft, strain them and add them to the brisket stock. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for at least a half hour

4. When ready to serve, season to taste with Tabasco and salt. Add all the vegetables and return to a light boil until everything is heated through.

Serves about eight, with lots of leftover soup for the next day.

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