Monday, October 19, 2009

Beefy Mushroom Barley Soup

We are just about into soup weather here in the Pacific Northwest. Soon it will be rain, rain, and more rain..or, as we PNWer's like to refer to it, liquid sunshine. When it's cold and dark and dank out there is nothing more comforting than a warm bowl of goodness. My hubby and I love soup. I try to make it as often as possible. But with only two of us at home these days, it takes us awhile to get through a pot. If, on the days I make soup, you can get here you're welcome to some.

Beefy Mushroom Barley Soup is my hubby's favorite, so it gets made often. We prefer it thick with lots of veggies and barley. I am utterly amazed when I read the back of a package of barley, or read some of the barley soup recipes out there and the recommendation is for 1/4 or 1/3 of a cup. I mean, really? What is the point of putting in the barley if you can't even find it in the soup!? So, I am no slouch when it comes to adding the you will see.


1 lb. stew beef (I had some top round that needed to be used) cut into small cubes
2 TBS. canola or vegetable oil
salt and pepper
1 TBS. butter
1 medium onion chopped
2-3 stalks celery chopped
1 cup sliced baby carrots
1-2 cloves garlic minced or grated
1/2 to 1 lb. cremini mushrooms
1/2 cup red wine
3 qts. beef stock
1 cup barley
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. oregano
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in the bottom of a 6 qt. Dutch oven or soup pot. Season the cubed beef with salt and pepper and c00k in small batches until nicely caramelized. As the beef browns remove to a paper towel and drain.

Add 1 TBS. butter to the drippings. Saute the onion for about 4 or 5 minutes. Add celery, carrots, and garlic. Saute for another 5 minutes. Add in the mushrooms and cook until tender. Then add the wine and the beef and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the stock. OK, here's a confession. Although I make my own chicken stock, I have yet to attempt making beef stock. And I don't like to spend the money on the boxed stocks. Happily, one day in Walmart, I happened on this little gem.

It really makes a nice rich broth. It is a little more spendy than bouillon cubes but more economical than the boxed stocks. I've been very pleased with the results using this product. I added 3 quarts of hot water and once the soup was boiling I added 4 1/2 TBS. of the paste. I stirred for a couple of minutes to make sure it dissolved properly. I then turned to heat to low and let simmer for about an hour.

After the soup has simmered add the barley and spices. Let cook on low for about 1/2 hour or until barley is tender. If it becomes thicker than you like just add a couple of cups of water. Serve with some yummy bread and you have a warm comforting meal on a cool fall day.

Notes:I have tinkered with this recipe for awhile, and this is the best I have come up with. It's filling and flavorful and reheats well...which is a good thing since we will be eating it for a few days! Enjoy!

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