Saturday, April 21, 2018

Beef, Barley and Mushroom Soup

I've always loved barley but rarely ate it, mostly because there weren't any recipes in my repertoire using that ingredient. Once in a blue moon, I'd come across beef and barley soup as a menu item in a restaurant, and always made a point of ordering it. Tastes like beef stew in soup form and the barley lends a really nice soft-chewy texture that doesn't dissolve like rice would in your mouth. I came up with this version after a late night craving and it really hits all the flavor points that epitomize this soup.


Ingredients:

2.5 lbs. beef chuck (pot roast), cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 8-oz. package sliced button mushrooms
5 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1.5 lbs. mini Klondike or Yukon Gold potatoes, halved or cut into large dice
14.5 oz. can diced roasted tomatoes
Two 32-oz. boxes of beef broth
4 cups water
2 tbsp. cider vinegar
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. caraway seeds
2 tsp. marjoram (or 1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves)
2 tsp. parsley flakes
1 tsp. dried thyme (or 2 sprigs fresh)
1 tsp. black pepper
3 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup pearled barley

*Optional: 1/4 cup marsala wine added when the carrots and potatoes go in. I didn't use this ingredient in the recipe, but I think it would really add to the flavor of the soup.

1. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large heavy pot (I like to use enameled cast iron) over medium heat and add the chopped onions. Stir frequently until lightly browned and season with a little salt and pepper. Add the chopped garlic and stir to combine. 

2. Season the beef cubes with salt and pepper and add to the onions and garlic in the pot; brown on all sides. 

3. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook 1-2 minutes or until softened; stir in the bay leaf, caraway seeds, marjoram, parsley, thyme, black pepper and salt. Add the canned tomatoes and cider vinegar.

4. Pour in the beef broth and 4 cups of water and bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook 45 minutes. 

5. Add the diced carrots, potatoes and pearled barley, and cook another 45 minutes at a simmer, partially covered. 

6. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed, before serving. 




Beef chuck (used for pot roast).


These are mini Klondike potatoes, which can be cut in half or in thirds. If you can't find these, you can substitute with Yukon Golds, which are larger, so just cut these into large dice. I leave the skins on because they are very thin and easy to eat. 


Cubed beef and potatoes.


Sliced button mushrooms, diced carrots, onion, minced garlic and thyme sprigs.

Fire-roasted diced tomatoes, pearled barley, beef stock, cider vinegar, caraway seeds, parsley
flakes, and oregano leaves (instead of marjoram).


Brown the chopped onion in a large pot until lightly browned; season with a 
little salt and pepper and stir in the garlic.


Add the seasoned beef and brown on all sides.


Add the sliced mushrooms and cook 1-2 minutes until softened.


Add the herbs, spices, salt and pepper.


Add the roasted tomatoes and cider vinegar. 


Add the beef broth.


Add 4 cups water.


Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook 45 minutes. 


After 45 minutes, add the carrots and potatoes. 


Add 1 cup of pearled barley; bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and 
cook another 45 minutes. Taste and re-season with salt and pepper, if needed, before serving.

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