You guys know all about my German Christmas traditions, so this year my dear friend Haley from Les Petites Joies is sharing a little taste of Southern Christmas. Her blog is full of the little joys in life and family that make it all special. Thank you Haley for providing pieces of happiness to us all — both in person and online!
2 lbs. stew meat
2 lbs. ground meat
1 large diced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
2 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes
2 lbs. frozen mixed veggies
1 lb. baby lima beans
3 boxes beef broth
1 lb. red potatoes (diced at same size of veggies)
|Papa Soup. Photos from LPJ.|
This is a very simple but hearty soup. Start by browning your meats, onion, and garlic in a large stock pan. Once the meat is brown and onions are translucent, sprinkle liberally with Tony Chachere’s (a Cajun seasoning available in most stores). Add your diced tomatoes, veggies, lima beans, and beef broth. Let cook for a good while on simmer. At about an hour, before serving, add your potatoes (skins on). And then you are good to go. Easy, easy.
My maternal grandpa, lovingly known as papa, was a Renaissance man of sorts. He was a farmer by trade, but he was also a soldier, basketball player and enthusiast, and cook extraordinaire. All of the men in his family knew and perfected the basics of Acadian cuisine. They would use anything they caught (including squirrels, rabbits, and frogs, too) and whip up some Cajun gumbo, fried catfish or a cochon de lait for all of their family and friends.
But my papa wasn’t all spices and savory dishes; he also often tried his hand at baking. In fact, he used to challenge himself to make the Southern Living cake of the year, taking extra care to match the cover photo. Like I said, a Renaissance man — even in the kitchen.
Mom as a baby & Papa.
When we were little, we called this soup “papa soup” because it was one of his go-to meals for a family dinner (on a mostly unrelated note, we also called Fudge Rounds “papa cookies,” and when we stayed at nana and papa’s house we got to have papa cookies for breakfast — pretty sweet deal).
Dad, Papa & baby Haley.
This soup reminds me of Christmases at home — a little town called Big Cane — and it, of course, reminds me of my papa. My papa was one of the greatest men I’ve ever known — solid, salt of the earth, laid back, and joyful. He knew how to appreciate the simple things in life and he knew that family was the most important thing there is. We miss him greatly — especially at this time of the year. I wish he were here — to teach me to not worry so dang much; to meet my husband; and to share a couple of breakfast papa cookies in that Big Cane kitchen with the forest green cabinets. But I am so grateful that we have our memories ... and this soup on Christmas Eve.