A good soup starts with a good stock. I will tell you how to do that, then give you some ways to build a soup out of that stock. The stock takes time, but then its done and freezeable.
2 # beef shank bones
2 T oil
8 c water
1 onion, chopped
1 large or 2 small cloves garlic
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
Heat oil to med hot in a large pot. Salt and pepper the beef shanks. When the oil is ready, add the bones. You may have to do this in two stages if the bones don’t all fit in the pot. Let the bones brown on one side, then turn and brown the other side. They need to be nice and evenly browned-that is the secret for the stock. When the bones are browned, return all of them to the pot. Add the water. Let it come to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer, barely bubbling, for 1 1/2 hours.
Add onion, garlic and tomatoes. Cover, cook another 1 1/2 hours.
Remove from heat. Remove the bones from the stock. The meat should have fallen off. Throw the bones away, scrapping off any meat that may still be on them. Cut the meat into small bites, remove any pieces of fat. Return the meat to the stock. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The grease will rise to the top. You will then be able to skim off the fat on the top.
Now you are ready to make soup. Or, you can freeze the stock until later.
Basic Vegetable Soup
Add 2-3 carrots sliced ( based on size of carrots)
1-2 potatoes, quartered
any other veggies you may like
Check for salt and pepper to taste.
Cover, return to low medium heat and cook another 1 1/2.
2 T Spice Islands Italian Herbs
1 c drained, canned cannellini beans or 1 c frozen green lima beans
1 c chopped fresh or frozen green beans
2 small zucchini, chopped
1 c orzo or ditillini or pasta or your choice
Add herbs and veggies to the basic stock, cover, cook 1 hour. Add pasta, cook 30 minutes.
Garnish with Italian parsley.
Caldo de Res (Mexican meat soup)
2 T chile powder
1 c drained, canned frijoles or black beans
1 c frozen corn kernels
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 poblano pepper, chopped
1-2 Mexican squash, chopped
Add to the basic stock, cover and cook 1/1/2 hours.
Garnish: Cilantro, chopped onion, avocadoes, limes, tortilla chips.