With spring, comes crazy weather. One day it’s 70º, then next…snow, sleet, and a longing for a nice pot of “Hobo Hamburger & Macaroni Stew”! It was nasty out, and I mean downright dark, cold and nasty. And this hearty, homey, stick-to-your-ribs childhood favorite was just the ticket to soothe the soul. And boy did it ever!
There are many names for this soup/stew, and you may know it simply by Hamburger Macaroni Soup, or Girl Scout Soup, and even “camping soup”! It’s made many different ways, and traditionally made with whatever bits you have hanging around to toss into the pot before they go bad. And for parties and such, usually the host gets the pot started with broth and cooked meats, and guests all bring canned goods, beans, and fresh veggies to toss in! You really can’t go wrong, so feel free to add whatever you have that needs to be used up! This pot ended up with lots of goodies including cabbage and zucchini!
I like to make mine using crushed tomatoes, beef broth, and a little tomato paste, but you can go lighter on the tomatoes and heavier on the broth if you’d like. Always make what your cooking according to your own preferences and what you enjoy.
Same goes for the pasta. I used macaroni noodles, but you can swap that out for rice or even potatoes if they’re more what you have a taste for!
Vegetables? Just about anything goes! I added onions, carrots, celery, zucchini, cabbage, and corn! I normally like to add green beans, too, but I was out. (That’s how the last of the zucchini made it’s way into the pot! Good swap! 😉 )
Beans, mushrooms, leeks, sweet potatoes, turnips, peppers, spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, eggplant, and peas are all, also, great additions!
And the secret ingredient? A parmesan cheese rind! Never ever toss them, unless you’re tossing them into a pot of soup, stew or sauce!
And one of the best things of all? Besides how DELICIOUS it is, of course, is that it’s all made in one pot! And you don’t even have to drain any of the grease, as there won’t even be any if you use extra lean ground beef! Couldn’t get any easier!
So if you’ve got odds ‘n ends and bits in the veggie drawer, a few cans of this and bags of that in the pantry, and a pound of ground beef hanging out in the freezer, you’ve got a hearty pot of soup just waiting to be made and devoured! Hope you enjoy!
- 2 Tbl. butter
- 1 lb. extra lean ground beef
- 1 large onion, chopped into ½" chunky pieces
- 1 rib celery, sliced
- 8 oz. baby carrots, sliced thickly into 4ths
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. dried italian seasoning
- 1 tsp. dried parsley
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1½ tsp. coarse ground black pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbl. flour
- 1 (48 oz.) box beef stock or broth
- 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 Tbl. tomato paste, to taste
- ½ tsp. worcestershire sauce
- 1½ Tbl. beef bouillon base such as Better Than Bouillon
- 2 - 3 tsp. (packed) dark brown sugar (as you like)
- one small parmesan rind, optional but always so good!
- ½ small head fresh cabbage, cut into large bite-sized pieces
- 1 (10½ oz.) can beef consommé
- 1½ cups uncooked macaroni noodles
- 1 small skinny courgette such as zucchini or yellow squash, quartered and sliced
- 1 (7 oz.) can white shoepeg corn, drained
- Garnish with grated parmesan cheese if desired and set out a bottle of hot sauce for heat lovers!
- In a stock pot, add butter and melt over medium heat. Crumble in ground beef and add onion, celery carrots, and seasonings up to garlic. Sauté until beef is done breaking up as it cooks. (*No need to drain when using extra lean ground beef. The juices left are wonderful!) Add garlic and sauté just until fragrant, about 1 minute longer. Sprinkle with flour, stir and sauté 1 more minute.
- Add stock, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, worcestershire, beef base, dark brown sugar, parmesan rind (optional), cabbage and consommé. Bring to a simmer, cover, lower heat to Low, and simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add macaroni noodles, and courgette(s). Re-cover, raise heat to medium to bring back to a simmer. Once simmering, lower heat to Low again and continue simmering until noodles and vegetables are tender. About 20 more minutes (once simmering) depending on brand of noodles. Stir occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking on the bottom.
- Stir in drained can of corn. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Cover and let sit a few minutes until canned veggies are heated through and stew has cooled down enough to eat.
- Ladle into bowls and serve with fresh grated parmesan cheese on top if desired. Set out a bottle of hot sauce for heat lovers! Enjoy!!