This is a fairly simple recipe that has been in my (Kaitlyn's) family for quite a while. The original recipe was handed down from my great-grandma to my mom, though no one knows where she got it from! It really doesn't resemble any traditional Italian minestrone, in content or in taste, but it sure is delicious. I've loved it since I was little, though I was a lot pickier with my veggies back in the day.
- 1 pound of ground beef
- 1 cup of diced onion (about 1 medium onion)
- 1 heaping cup of diced potatoes
- 1 cup of sliced carrots
- 1/2 cup of diced celery
- 2 cups of cooked tomatoes - be sure to mash them up in a bowl beforehand
- 1 and 1/2 quarts of water
- 1/4 cup of rice
- 1 small dried bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon of thyme
- 1 basil leaf
- 4 teaspoons of salt
- a dash of pepper
- shredded cheddar cheese (optional - for topping)
Combine the beef and chopped onion in a large pot and brown on medium heat. Remove excess fat, if necessary, and add the potatoes, carrots, celery, tomatoes, and water. Bring to a boil. Then, sprinkle in rice and add the bay leaf, thyme, basil, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook on low heat for one hour - this is very important! Extra cooking time allows the spices to mix and the potatoes to grow tender. After that long hour has passed, the soup is ready to serve. Ladle it into bowls and top with cheese, if desired.