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Vegetable soup – Graham’s winter special

Graham has made several batches of this thick warming soup every winter for as long as I can remember.  Sometimes it is very thick and we feel we have had a full meal with a loaf of crusty bread.  Other times we add more water to make it more like soup.


1 oxtail or shin of beef
2 carrots
1 swede
1 leek
3 sticks celery
1 onion
1 cup soup mix
1 litre vegetable or beef stock
2 tablespoon soya sauce
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Grate the carrots and swede
  2. Slice the other vegetables into small pieces no more than 1cm thick
  3. Put the oxtail into the bottom of a large heavy saucepan
  4. Add stock then vegetables
  5. Spread the soup mix on top
  6. Bring to the boil then simmer gently for 6-7 hours, stirring from time to time to stop the soup sticking to the bottom of the saucepan
  7. Towards the end of the cooking time, stir in the soya sauce, salt and pepper
  8. Serve hot in bowls with toast fingers or crusty bread for lunch or dinner.


  1. If you have a slow cooker, it is ideal for this soup. Follow the recipe and put the cooker on low and cook the soup for 8 hours.  The meat will simply fall off the bone.
  2. For a vegetarian version, disregard the oxtail and use more soya sauce and spices such as cumin and cardamom (1-2 teaspoons of each) and sprinkle with grated cheese