Monday, October 14, 2013

.barley beef soup.


The weather here in New York has been relatively nice this month.  Typically we're cooling down and I start wanting things like soup, stew, casseroles; so you can imagine my culinary winter "appetite" is confused.  While at the store this week, I picked up the ingredients to make barley beef soup and here it is .. a 70 degree day and I'm making it.  Shoot.  I even made homemade rolls.  Go me!

Barley is a grass, like wheat.  Barley is used in making beer, soup, it can be ground to make bread, etc.  It has many uses.  I learned all of this on Wikipedia and my oldest daughter was happy to read that it grows in the Fertile Crescent of northern Africa (aka Egypt).  (She's learning about the Fertile Crescent in school right now!)

This is a soup I cook in my Dutch oven and let it go all day in the oven at 250*.  My husband asked me today why I didn't use my crockpot and I informed him that 1) I destroyed my crockpot insert when I attempted to make overnight steel cut oats (oops!); and, 2) nothing EVER turns out in my crockpot.  It's even one of these nice ones and I have this great disdain for the dang thing.  So, I stick with my method of just letting it go low and slow for hours and hours.

Here are the ingredients you'll need:

2-3 lbs stew meat, cut into bite sized pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
2 cups carrots (I buy the bag of baby carrots and cut them in half)
5-6 medium sized white or gold potatoes, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, chopped
3/4 cup barley
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2-3 cups beef broth
2-3 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp sugar
bay leaf
fresh thyme
Italian parsley
salt and pepper
oil

Season the meat with salt and pepper.  Heat some oil in your Dutch oven or skillet and fry up the meat.  Sear.  Remove and put on a plate or bowl; set aside.  Heat a little more oil in the pot and saut√© the garlic and onion for about 30 seconds.  Add carrots, potato, celery, and bay leaf.  Saute until the potatoes get a little glossy on the outside.  Return the seared meat to the pot and add barley, broth, sugar, herbs, and a little salt and pepper.  Pop the lid on and put in your pre-heated oven.  Let cook for 4-5 hours. 

Because I use stew meat, the long cooking time helps to break down the fat and sinew resulting in the most amazingly tender beef you'll ever have in your life, so don't be tempted to rush this dish.

This makes a big pot of soup so you'll have plenty of leftovers (if you're a family of 4, like us) or you can freeze half for a later meal.

I always serve this soup with homemade dinner rolls.  Enjoy!

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