Vintage Recipes: Hamburger Vegetable Soup

From 1957 comes this vintage recipe for a basic hamburger vegetable soup. It comes when brand names were becoming a big thing, now that you were shopping at the start of big grocery stores, rather than a corner store or a general store. Name brands were shiny to the eye and (in theory) promised that it came from inspected factories and slaughter houses. This recipe calls for 3 branded items.

Now then…since it’s 2023 I made the soup with broth instead, for more flavor, and left the salt out (I used lower sodium broth as well). Because I was feeding hungry boys I doubled the rice and added in a fifth cup of broth. So yes, I did alter the recipe a bit. And I can live with that.

I also didn’t boil the raw meat in the water/broth because no thank you. I like my meat cooked dry. I remember people doing this as a kid, some weird hold over from long ago.

PS: Suet is just tallow, the fat of cows. I used olive oil since I tend to buy 7% hamburger. Back in the day you could go to your local butcher shop and ask them to grind in the fat, as they ground your hamburger. Not something so easy to find these days.

Hamburger Vegetable Soup


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound hamburger
  • 2 cups carrots, diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ½ cup celery, diced
  • ½ cup long grain rice
  • 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 5 cups lower sodium beef broth
  • Ground black pepper


Add olive oil to a tall stockpot, add in ground beef. Cook until mostly done over medium-high, then add in carrots, onions, and celery.

Cook until hamburger is no longer pink.

Rinse the rice well, till the water runs clear, in a mesh strainer. Add into the beef mixture, stirring in well.

Add the tomatoes and broth and a good shake of pepper.

Bring to a boil, then turn to medium-low, and let simmer covered for about 25 to 30 minutes.

Stir periodically, and lower heat as needed to just maintain a simmer.

Taste for salt.

Serves 4 to 5.