Introduction: Nana's Best Soup

Picture of Nana's Best Soup


This is a very simple soup that my grandmother used to make. The only difference between how I make it and how she made it is that she used a pressure cooker to cook the beef. I'm too afraid to use it since my mother and my volcanology professor have both told me that pressure cookers can explode. Her soup was much better and yours could be too if you want to risk cooking the beef with a pressure cooker.

The recipe is so simple and yet so delicious and addicting. My friends and my boyfriend always ask me to make it all the time! Also, it's fun to hear people say "Hey! Can you make some Nana Soup!?"

I know this sounds strange, but the best thing to drink while you're eating this soup is 2% milk. Somehow the milk and the soup really compliment each other.

Also, the trick to this soup is adding lots of pepper when you're ready to eat it. I don't know how this magic works - it just works. LOTS OF BLACK PEPPER!

Well, I hope your enjoy this recipe. Please let me know if you make it and you love it or even if something went wrong and it turned out funny.

P.S. - the adorable little boy in the background is my pug baby, Romper!

Step 1: Ingredients

Picture of Ingredients

1 tbsp. of butter
1 lb. of stew beef chopped into ~1cm chunks
1 medium or large onion
1 (46 fl oz) can of tomato juice
1/2 (46 fl oz) can of water
<1lb of elbow macaroni
salt
pepper

It's important to note that you are buying tomato juice and not tomatoe sauce or soup. I generally find it on the bottom shelf in the juice section of any grocery store no matter what state I'm in. I have always thought this to be a bit of an odd place for it.

Step 2: Browning the Beef

Picture of Browning the Beef

1. Once you're done cutting up your stew beef place it in a bowl or on a plate next to where you will be making your soup.

2. Put the tablespoon of butter into your pot and turn it on low or medium heat until it melts.

3. Place the stew beef into the pot of melted butter and stir it up a little (keep on medium heat). Place the lid on your pot.

4. Cut the ends off your onion and take off the outer skin. I like to stab holes my onion a little too. I like to think it lets the flavors out more but I'm not sure it really does.

Step 3: Adding the Onion and Tomato Juice

Picture of Adding the Onion and Tomato Juice

You can either put your onion  in while you brown the beef or after you put in the tomato juice. I've never noticed a difference in flavor based on when you put it in.

5. Once your beef is done browning ("testing" whether or not it has browned is always a fun part!) add the entire can of tomato juice.

6. Fill the empty tomato juice can  just over half way with water and add it to your pot. For a thicker more tomatoey soup only fill the can half full with water.

7. If you haven't added your onion to the pot yet - do it now.


Step 4: Macaroni

Picture of Macaroni

8. Bring your soup to a boil.

9. Once it starts boiling add in 3 handfulls of macaroni. I usually cup my hands together and scoop the noodles out of my macaroni jar and get 3 small scoops out. If you're using a 1 lb box of macaroni you can toss in about 2/3rds of the box in. Don't add too much or you won't have a soup any more. If you have really large hands I would recommend maybe 2 hand scoops. I'm sorry this part of the recipe is so vague. I've never really measured the amount of macaroni I've added.

10. Allow the macaroni to cook while your soup still boils. Stir periodically so that the macaroni doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot. Test it from time to time to make sure it isn't too soft. You want it to be cooked but not very soft.

11. Once the macaroni isn't hard anymore take your soup off the burner and put your pot of soup somewhere to sit for 10 minutes. Since the noodles are immersed in liquid they will keep expanding even while you're sitting down with your bowl to eat. That's why you remove the soup from heat just after the noodles are no longer hard but not very soft.

12. Scoop as much soup as you want into a bowl. Don't try too hard to add more noodles to your bowl if it seems like there's not enough. They will expand and fill your bowl while you eat it. Add pepper (lots of pepper!) and salt as needed. Enjoy!

Step 5: Storage and Leftovers

Picture of Storage and Leftovers

Let the soup cool and put it in the fridge.

This is my favorite leftovers to bring to work. If you want to save it for another time you can freeze it and put it in the fridge a short time before you want to eat it. Oh! If you are eating the leftovers you might need to add a tablespoon or two of water before you microwave it because the noodles have absorbed so much water!

Of course, you only get leftovers if you don't have to share with someone :]

Comments

maltesergr8 (author)2011-12-21

Soup looks very tasty, will definitely be trying this after the holidays!

I have a couple of questions --
1) Do you drain off the fat from browning the meat?
2) Is the onion left whole or is it chopped up? Guessing you remove it when the soup is done cooking, before saving the leftovers?

Thanks!

Caulerpa (author)maltesergr82012-01-15

I don't drain off the fat from the meat and you're right I do remove the whole onion after it's done cooking.

rorcutt (author)2011-10-02

This sounds like a great comfort food soup, and I can't wait to try making it! Thanks for sharing!

My grandmother always used a pressure cooker for a lot of her cooking (she's the one who taught me how to cook). When I got married, she bought us a new model that has a safety lock that won't allow the lid to be removed until the pressure inside has gone down. It works great and I don't have to worry about a kitchen explosion!

Caulerpa (author)rorcutt2011-10-02

Let me know when you try it out :] I would love to know if it's just a family thing or something that everyone will enjoy.

lemonie (author)2011-10-02

Don't be afraid of a pressure-cooker that is in good condition and manufactured in the last 30 years. They speed-up cooking time and use less energy.

I've been cooking Trinidadian things, and I've noticed that black pepper is an important flavour-base for curries - how much do you use, and when do you add it?

For the browning, I'd really brown it - you've got too little heat in step 2 - too much "juice", not enough "brown"

L

Boost (author)2011-10-02

Modern pressure cookers are safe and have double safety valves. Pressure cookers really makes the meat tender.

I will try this recipe in out cooker.

Caulerpa (author)Boost2011-10-02

Oh! Thank you for letting me know! I'll have to finally try it too then!

About This Instructable

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Bio: I am a former Geologist who has moved back to Arizona. I live with two pugs (Romper & Murphy) and my boyfriend/husband-critter.
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