Sunday, January 24, 2010

Beef and Barley Soup

I love soup. Can you spot the bay leaf? I like to make sure Scot's bowl gets it because he has issues with non-edible things on his plate. Like when he eats meat with bones, he has to put the bones on a separate plate as he finishes the piece of meat. I think it must have something to do with his clean plate club-ness, but we all have our OCD problem.

Anyways, this soup (almost a stew!) was delicious. The meat was succulent. And I don't use that word unless it is true. Like you can cut it with a spoon. It is a perfect winter meal. It is not particularly cold in Boulder/I had the windows open this morning when I was cleaning. isn't warm so that's fine.

A few tips/warnings. This takes a long time. But I have made a lot of soups and any non-cream soup HAS to take a long time for it to be good. However, actual working/prep time is very short...maybe 30-45 minutes. I think the recipe is great and didn't change anything. For fingerling potatoes, you can substitute any baby/new potato. The grocery stores always have small red potatoes, that is what I used. For the meat, the cut we bought was called a chuck pot roast. It wasn't particularly "lean" but when I cut it into pieces, I did throw away some of the thicker chunks of marbling (fat).

Beef and Barley Soup

from For the Love of Cooking

2 tsp olive oil (divided)

2 lbs of lean chuck, diced

1 small sweet yellow onion, diced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

8 cups of beef broth

1-2 bay leaves

Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

8 oz of mushrooms, sliced

3 stalks of celery, diced

3 carrots, diced

5-6 fingerling potatoes, diced

1/2 cup of pearled barley

1/2 cup frozen peas

2 tbsp cornstarch mixed with a little water

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the beef in batches and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until caramelized. Once the beef is cooked, add the onion and garlic and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Add the beef broth, bay leaves and season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Cover the Dutch oven with a lid and place into the oven for 2-3 hours.

Heat the remaining teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Add the mushrooms, carrots, celery, fingerling potatoes and pearled barley to the beef soup. Cover and cook on the stove top over medium low heat for 45-60 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and the pearled barley is cooked through. Mix a bit of cornstarch with some water and stir until completely dissolved. Add the cornstarch slurry to the boiling soup and stir. Remove from the heat and serve. Enjoy.

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