I browned 1 1/2 lbs ground chuck in a large pan. As I was browning the meat, I was chopping the veggies and adding them to the pan. I tried to keep all but the potatoes about the same size. I cut those a little bigger. I used 6 carrots, two large onions, 3 parsnips, 3 stalks celery, 3 good sized Yukon gold potatoes. These veggies were added to the mixture and stirred... letting them soften a bit while on the stove. I put them in the slow cooker which had been set for 4 hours on high. Then I added a can of tomato soup, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 can butter beans with juice, 6 cups of chicken broth, 2 soup cans of water, 3 cloves garlic chopped. Then came the seasonings, 1 heaping tsp. sea salt, 1 tsp fresh ground pepper, a few shakes of Italian seasoning, a hefty tsp of beef soup base, and a couple shakes of red pepper. The slow cooker was set for 4 hours and the soup was done a little before that. I used Yukon golds because they hold up well in soups and stews.
This could be modified by just softening the veggies in butter and then putting them into the slow cooker and add more beans (maybe black beans and garbanzos ) some sort of pasta could be added at the end or even rice. Just thought...maybe barley. Just keep the liquid and seasonings pretty much the same.
This soup is a rich soup with a tomato broth. Lots of broth and veggies just softened. I served it with crackers, but a crusty french bread would be nice with it. Then you could mop up the remaining broth from the bottom of your bowl. We really enjoyed it. I got three dinners out of this recipe. We ate one today and the rest goes into the freezer.
This is where I am creative in the kitchen. I try to concoct my own recipes or take one that I've seen and give it a twist or two...making it my own. I put the recipe here so I could find it.. and use it again. So much easier that searching my recipe file or cookbooks. Someone asked me why I write out directions so completely. Experienced cooks probably don't need the directions to be this precise, but newer cooks might appreciate following an exact recipe. I hate it, when I get a recipe and I wonder...should that be covered or do you grease the sides of the pan? This is how I would want someone to give me a recipe.
I just thought of something....clams would be great in this brothy soup. I would add them at the end of the cooking time.