Monday, February 3, 2014

Beef & Barley Soup

Hi.  I've been absent for awhile.  I wonder on what I should blame my distraction.

Let's see...  Three kids?  With one on the way?  The fact that my oldest is in kindergarten?  The fact that I didn't know that kindergarten was such a big deal?  That I hope for enough snow to cancel school more than my 5-year-old?  (My child loves kindergarten.  And I love her school and teacher.  But school is a whole thing, ya know?  And I'm still adjusting.  Six months in.  I know.)  Or maybe I could blame my distractedness (spell check says that's not a word.  But I'm gonna roll with it.  Computers don't know everything, after all.) on my 9-month-old golden retriever.

He's so sweet.  Just look at that face.  He's also bad.  You wouldn't even believe what he's capable of.

Oh! And I also just read one of the best books eveh.  Unbroken.  Check it out at the library.  Order it from amazon.  Whatever.  Just get your hands on a copy and read it.  You won't be able to put it down.  Promise.

Where was I again?  Oh yeah.  I got distracted from telling you why I'd been distracted.  Um, maybe it's because all of the paint in my entry hall needs to be touched up (read: completely repainted).  Could everyone under 4' tall please KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF THE WALLS!?!  That is asking a lot, I know.

All that to say, I made this soup during December.  Sometime during that month.  It was cold, and I had barley in my pantry.  So I made this soup.  It was delicious.  Very hearty and satisfying.  Totally a guy soup, though I loved it too and my kids even scarfed it down!

It's nice and thick so it's easy for kids to scoop up.  I'm just not into brothy soups.  So if you are, add some more water or broth.  Then be sure to adjust the seasonings.

I adapted this recipe from Southern Lady.  Southern Lady is a great magazine.  It always has yummy recipes in it!

Beef & Barley Soup
Adapted from Southern Lady

2 T olive oil, divided
1 1/2 - 2 lbs beef stew meat, cubed
1 lb carrots, diced
6 stalks celery, diced
2 onions, diced
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
6 garlic cloves, minced
15 oz. diced tomatoes
2 T Worcestershire sauce
6 cups beef stock
2 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp pepper
1 T + 1 tsp garlic powder
5 sprigs fresh thyme (you can leave it on the stem and fish the stem out when the soup is done)
1 1/2 cups pearl barley

Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat and add the beef.  Brown the meat on all sides and then remove and set aside.

Add onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms.  Cook for 15-20 minutes until beginning to brown, stirring occasionally.  Add the browned meat, garlic, and remaining ingredients EXCEPT FOR THE BARLEY and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce to low and simmer, covered, for about 2 hours (until the meat is fall-apart tender).

Stir in the barley and cook for another 30-35 minutes, until the barley is done.  Remove the thyme stems (the leaves will have fallen off during cooking) and serve.

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