15 December 2007

Beef Barley Soup

This is my one soup that has always gotten rave reviews from everyone who has ever tried it. I make a gallon at a time.

5 small red potatoes
5 carrots
5 celery stalks
a small onion
a small carton of mushrooms
stir-fry beef (I don't like stew beef; too much fat)
1 cup barley (not instant/quick-cook barley!)
some corn (I use frozen; just don't use canned)
some peas (I use frozen; just don't use canned)
some green beans (I use frozen; just don't use canned)
one gallon beef broth (If it's canned, like Swanson's, I would recommend a 2 cans broth : 1 can water ratio because otherwise it's too salty.)

black pepper
cayenne pepper
Worcestershire sauce

1. Cut the beef into small pieces. Brown in the bottom of the soup pot with some corn oil. Dice the onion and slice the mushrooms. Add those in too. Saute'.

2. Add the beef broth. Bring to boil.

3. While it's heating up, wash the carrots and celery and chop into small pieces.

4. Rinse the barley and dump it in when the water is boiling. Stir.

5. When it boils again, dump in the corn and green beans. Stir.

6. When it boils again, dump in the carrots and celery. Turn the heat down a bit so it's not boiling as fast. Stir occasionally.

7. Chop up the potatoes. About an hour after you put in the barley and brought it to the second boil, dump in the potatoes. Stir.

8. Twenty minutes later dump in the peas and turn the heat off. (I have an electric stove. If yours is gas, let it come almost to a boil again before turning it off.) Stir. Sprinkle in copious quantities of black pepper and paprika. Not as much cayenne (it's not intended to be super spicy - just give it a bit of a kick). A couple dashes of the Worcestershire sauce, though I've left this out before without any huge difference.

9. Stir and cover. Let it sit on the stove slowly cooling overnight. Put it in the fridge the following morning. Eat for lunch. :)

That last step about leaving it out overnight may sound scary but I've never killed anyone with my soup by doing that. ;) You can stick it in the fridge directly if you want, but you might end up endangering all the other food in there by putting in something that big and hot right away.

Also, it's important to let the flavors blend together. You can eat it right after you're done adding the spices, but it won't taste right at that point. (It'll be edible and all... the full flavor just doesn't show up until the next day.)

The order of vegetables as stated above is important too. Stuff will cook at different rates. It took me a while to work out exactly what order to do it. Total cooking time has to be at least an hour and a half or the beef won't be tender enough.


Jim Wright said...

Oh great, another soup I've just got to make :)

Thanks for the recipe. I'll give it a try next week. This weekend I'm doing the Kreplach soup thing

MWT said...

Looking forward to seeing the recipes for both that and the clam chowder. :)

Jim Wright said...

I'll get them up, today or tomorrow. Right now I've got a house full of 11 year-olds. Chaos. Utter chaos.

help me



Jeri said...

Mmmm, that sounds great! I need a good beef barley recipe. One of my colleagues gave me one that started with roasting beef bones... probably yummy but way outside my tolerance for effort.

MWT said...

Yay soup connoisseurs! :)

Yeah, I didn't specify where exactly the beef broth should come from. If someone wants to make their own from bones, more power to them - but I generally go canned broth route. ;)

Hmm. *rummages under a pile of 11-year-olds, wondering if Jim is buried in there somewhere*

Jim Wright said...

(digging out from the pile of kids - I love Mondays!)

Best way to make your own beef broth? Oxtails, which you usually can find for cheap in the frozen meat section, or ask the meatcutter in your local grocery.

Brown the oxtails (really just the coccyx bones from a cow) in a heavy pan with a little butter or olive oil. then add 4-6 quarts water, handful each of coarse chopped onion, carrots, celery. dash parsley. Bay leaf. Bring to a boil, than simmer for a couple of hours. I usually add a cup of decent white wine (avoid 'cooking wine' at all costs!) after an hour or so.

when the liquid is reduced by roughly a half, pour through a fine wire strainer, divide into containers and freeze for up to 6 months.

MWT said...

Bay leaf! That would probably also work well in the beef barley soup recipe.

Thanks for the beef broth recipe. I'll have to try my hand at it sometime. I had good luck with some pork broth a really long time ago, but the bones came from my mother and she didn't say what part of the pig they came from.