Soup's on!

I am a huge fan of soup, especially on cold winter days.  To me, a huge pot of soup on the stove, a movie and maybe a DIY pedicure is a great way to pass a lazy, cold Sunday afternoon.  The best part about soup?  When you make a big pot of it, you can easily package it up to take to work for a satisfying and inexpensive lunch.  I love making soup and make it pretty frequently, but I always have trouble deciding which kind to make...

Today I settled on a beef barley soup.  A perfect combination of tender steak pieces and hearty barley swimming in a sea of carrots, mushrooms, onions, corn, sweet roasted red pepper and fresh herbs, this soup is comfort in a bowl.  Typically, I never like to include any sort of grain or starch into my soup until just before serving (there is nothing I hate more than bloated mushy pasta swirling around in my bowl) but barley is the exception.  Because it is a heartier grain, it will hold its own in the dish, maintaining its chewy texture but still soaking up the broth to create a thicker and richer soup.  Another added bonus of cooking with barley, it's crazy healthy for you.  Providing several essential minerals and vitamins and high in fiber, it is a nice break from rices and pastas.    

For this recipe, I used a top round steak which I cut into small bits.  Top round works well in here because it tends to be a tougher piece of meat.  By browning it first on the outside in a little extra virgin olive oil, you help to prevent the meat's juices from running, thus locking in the flavor.  Then, by cooking this soup for a couple of hours on low heat, the meat gets super tender as it absorbs all of the flavors of the soup.  This soup tends to be even better on the second day because the flavors have more time to concentrate and the barley has more time to thicken up the soup. 
Beef Barley Soup
- 2 - 32 oz. boxes of beef broth + 1 stock box full of water
- 1 roasted red bell pepper (you can either use a jar or roast it yourself in an oven)
- 1 package button mushrooms
- 1 medium sized sweet yellow onion, diced or thrown in whole
~ 1 cup frozen corn
~ 2 cups top round steak, cut into bite sized pieces
~ 5-6 carrots, peeled and cut into whatever shape you prefer
~ 1 tsp dried rosemary
~ 1 tsp dried thyme
~ 1 1/2 cups pearl barley (rinsed)
- Extra virgin olive oil for the pan
- Salt and pepper to taste

Allow the beef to come to room temperature (this promotes even cooking) and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.  In a stock pot, heat extra virgin olive oil until very hot.  Add the meet and allow it to brown on one side (about 3-4 minutes) and then stir, allowing the other sides to brown.  Once the meet in browned, deglaze the pan with the stock and water, scraping the bottom of the pan with a rubber spatula or spoon.  Add the onion, mushrooms and herbs to pot.  Cover and simmer on low for 30-40 minutes.  Add carrots and roasted red peppers.  Cover and simmer for an hour to an hour and a half.  Next, test the broth to adjust seasonings and add the barley.  Cook on low for another hour.  Add frozen corn just before serving.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am thrilled with this new recipe! I love to order Beef Barley soup out at a restaurant but was never quite sure how to make it - you make it sound so easy to make! Perfect menu idea for this cold weather that we have been having.

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