If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you’ll nod your head in agreement when I say “It’s getting cold outside.” In Scotland, the temperature has remained quite high compared to other cold climes (just under 10’C most days, or 50’F), but we’ve had a steady battering of rain (usually horizontal), mist and wind for weeks now. My laundry now sits on drying racks inside; forget about wearing something straight out of the wash! Regardless of a higher temperature, 10’C feels bone-chilling cold in Scotland’s damp climate, and I’ve been trying to keep myself warm by wearing plenty of layers, drinking large mugs of Supreme Matcha Green Tea or just hot water, and making delicious comfort foods. I’ve also been making a lot of soup.
When I was a teacher in Edmonton, I used to make soup every week to have as my lunch. I love soup. I ate so much soup, one of my colleagues used to tease me about it all the time. Back then, my soups were vegetarian, full of vegetables from the farmer’s market, but also legumes. Since going primal, and including protein in every meal, my soups now always contain meat. Leftover roast chicken creates a fantastic chicken soup, but I wanted something different; plus I wasn’t about to roast a chicken for a soup. I wanted something that felt like home again. Something that I used to eat as a child: Hamburger Soup.
I’m not sure how we initially got into it, or whose recipe got us started on it, but when I was a kid, my Mom went through a phase of making this soup often. I remember loving it, then in usual Danielle fashion, eating too much of it and growing tired of it. It’s been over twenty years since I’ve had the soup, so I figure me going primal + cold temperatures + wanting a winter-warmer soup were perfect reasons to ask my Mom to revive the Hamburger Soup recipe once again.
She turned to her mom (my Grandma Dumaine) who wrote down the recipe. My Mom snapped a photo of it and sent it to me via Facebook Messenger. Us Sasaki-Dumaine women are crafty like that!
Grandma’s recipe contains conventional ingredients, like barley and consommé, which I knew I could easily substitute for primal ingredients: potatoes or courgettes (zucchinis) for the barley; and homemade, umami-packed, good-for-your-gut bone broth. Done!
*side note: this isn’t just a soupy version of my Primal Bolognaise Sauce, but I realise it seems like that. And yes, I sneak kale into everything.
Grandma’s Hamburger Soup
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
500g/ 1 lb ground/minced, grass-fed beef
2 medium carrots, peeled (if not organic) and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
2 large handfuls of kale, chopped into bitesize pieces
1 cup of waxy potatoes skin-on, chopped*
1 medium courgette skin-on, chopped
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
900 mL homemade bone broth
450 mL of water
1 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
Sea salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
1. Heat up a large stock pot on the hob, at medium temperature. Add your olive oil, then sauté the carrots, onions, celery, and courgette until soft. This should take no more than 7 minutes.
2. Make a well in the middle of the pot and add your beef, breaking it up as it cooks. Stir the beef around as it browns.
3. When the beef has a hint of pink left, add the kale, potatoes, tinned tomatoes, bone broth, water and all the seasonings. Stir well.
4. Bring to the boil, then simmer on low for at least 30 minutes. The soup is ready when the carrots and potatoes are soft.
This soup freezes well. The longest it’s lasted in our fridge is four days; not because it went bad, but because we ate it all up!
Serve with delicious paleo bread, and cheese if you like.
This recipe is paleo and can be made keto by omitting the carrots and potatoes. It also works for diabetics by again omitting the potatoes. It is dairy-free, gluten-free, grain-free and sugar-free.
What’s your favourite winter soup?
What food did you love growing up?
How do you stay warm in winter time?