Thursday, October 6, 2011

BoB Soup

As an Army Wife you meet lots of people. Many of whom are lovely, and some of whom make you wish they would leave you alone forever. While we were living in Georgia, we lived next to a very nice Korean woman named MinJong.  She was lovely and was interested in learning more about American-cooking, so we made a cooking deal.  I am very sad to say that although I faithfully taught her to make a chocolate cake, we didn't make an appointment for her to teach me egg rolls. Which is sad because they were so yummy.  (this is because, as an Army Wife, you get used to everyone moving all the time, and she moved before we could get together...)

One afternoon, MinJong and I were chatting and it came up that my father was a Canadian citizen. She replied: "Ooh, that explains why you look so foreign... I mean beautiful." Right.  Obviously both true, but obviously hilarious as well.

The funny thing is that Canada is, for the most part, the same. But with better candy. And more colorful dollar bills. And an entirely different heathcare approach (neither here nor there). However, since my father is Canadian, and many of the first years of my parent's marriage was spent there, my mother has picked up many "Canadian" things to cook. Most of these are heavenly (just wait for the Christmas posts!).  So, in a word, think of this easy, healthy go-to soup as foreign... I mean flavorful.  Right.  Obviously both true.

This is one of my favorite weeknight (or even weeknight with guests) meals, and I have been craving it for weeks now. Because it's fall. And fall = soups. This recipe comes from a line of cookbooks called The Best of Bridge. And although it was originally called "Hamburger Soup," we now refer to it as "BoB Soup" (from Best of Bridge) because I no longer use ground beef in the making of it. :)

BoB soup is... warm - yes! tasty - yes! impressive - i happen to think 94% of all homemade soups are impressive, so yes! But the best part is, it's made of everyday ingredients. And somehow, you mix them all together and they equal just a warm bowl of goodness you will crave when the wind starts to turn a bit cold.

So, you compile the ingredients.

You may notice that I have forgotten diced tomatoes in this picture.  This is because, while I was at the store purchasing said "everyday items" I was on the phone with my mother.  Who told me that I was wrong and did not need diced tomatoes.  As it turns out, she was wrong.  As it further turns out, you can used your RoTel Diced Tomatoes with Cilantro in this recipe in a pinch.

You may also notice that instead of using a "medium sized onion" there is only 1/4 of an onion in this picture.  That is because the onion in question looked like this:

And THAT, friends, is an onion as large as my head.  Tell you what, I had a fun time at the farmer's market this weekend...

So just brown up your meat (I prefer turkey-burger) and onion (onion diced small).  And put a little salt or season salt in (because you should flavor every layer).  I used my fabulous cast iron pot to cook these in today, but my mother always just browned these two in a pan, and then transfered to a large stock pot.  So do what makes you happy.

And while the meat is browning and the onions are getting nice and tasty, chop up your carrots (I prefer "triangle" shape for this) and celery, so you have small bits of veggies. 

When your meat is sufficiently browned, drain the fat.  Now plop it back in a pot, and add everything else.  Your celery, carrots, diced tomatoes (no matter what your mother tells you), thyme, salt, bay leaf, water, pepper, barley, tomato soup (yup, just the concentrated stuff in the can) and beef broth. 

Obviously you could substitute another broth if you felt so inclined.  The original, Canadian, recipe calls for beef consume, which is not readily available where I live.  If you can find beef consume (it'll be near the canned soups, or perhaps the "broth" section), please use it.  I live in Kentucky, so I'm happy to find broth.  Either one entire box, or three 10.5 oz cans worth.

Also, if you are not a fan of barley, or just don't want to use it, feel free to use brown rice instead.  Or white rice if you feel so inclined.  I bought barley for this very occasion.  Not sure what else I'm going to do with it, but I love the texture in all kinds of soups, so I assume I'll do that.

Now bring the soup to a boil on medium heat, and place the lid kindof skewompas on top.  Now take it down to a slow simmer and boil away for at least an hour, preferably two.  But if it's longer, there are no worries.

slightly skewompas lid... in case it wasn't "english"

This soup is great re-heated, or even frozen for later.  But it is pretty darn great for right now.  mmm...  (Don't forget to take the bay leaf out...)

BoB (Hamburger) Soup
1 1/2 lb ground turkey (or ground beef)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
2 cups water
3 10.5 oz cans, or one 32oz box of beef broth
1 can tomato soup
4 carrots chopped fine
3 stalks of celery chopped fine
1/4 cup barley or brown rice
1/2 tsp thyme
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
1 bay leaf

Brown meat and onions
Drain well.
Combine all other ingredients in a large pot and simmer for 2 hours.
Take bay leaf out.


  1. I am sad because I can't seem to leave a comment. I love this stuff, made without Beef products using my method. What kind of bread rolls you serve with BoB soup, Sarah?

  2. This is hands down my fav soup especially for the first homemade soup of the season!

  3. I made the soup and it was delicious Ms. Sarah!

  4. That loks awesome, welcome to HH6 too. I use barle in pilaf, saute onion, butter and herbs, add coked cold (read leftover) rice, quinoa, and barley, heat with chicken stock till absprbed and serve!