Beef and Barley Soup
1.5 lbs. stew meat (Mine was lean chuck. You could pretty much use any cut, as long as it's on the lean side.)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 large carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced (so they're semicircles, I mean)
3 large stalks celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c dry wine (I had white open, but you could certainly use red)
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
couple dashes Tabasco
1 qt beef broth (I used a natural beef bullion dissolved in boiling water)
1 can (14 oz?) of diced tomatoes3–4 c water
1 tbsp dried marjoram
1 tbsp dried parsley
2/3 c pearl barley
(optional) 3/4 c fresh green beans cut into 1 in pieces
- Cut beef into bite size pieces if not already done so by your butcher. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When oil's shimmering, add beef and spread it into an even layer. Don't touch the meat for a few minutes so it gets a bit of a sear, then stir it around to cook through.
- Add onions, carrots and celery to meat and cook until onions soften, about 4 min.
- Add garlic, wine, worcestershire and Tabasco and cook another 2 min.
- Add beef broth, tomatoes with their juice, and water (enough to cover everything by 1 in). Cover and continue to cook on med high until it comes to a soft boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer, but keep covered. Add herbs and cook for about 30 min.
- Add barley and cook (still covered) for another 20–25 min until barley is tender/toothy. Note: DO NOT use more barley than called for even if it seems like too little. It'll absorb all your liquid and puff up. I promise.
- If you're using green beans, you'll want to add them about 10 min. before barley is done.
This next one is one of my favorite old standby meals. My mom taught me how to make it when I left for college, so it's really comforting. Plus, it's easy and super-cheap, but surprisingly hearty and warming with lots of black pepper (you may want to put in less… Liz and I both have an unusual fondness for the stuff). It's especially solid with a bit of bread and cheese to accompany it.
3 tbsp butter
4 stalks celery, sliced
onions of some sort: this time I had 1 smallish leek, which didn't seem like enough so I also used 1 medium shallot. Usually, I use a small yellow onion, diced. Basically, you want about 1 c. of onioniness.
4 large russet potatoes, diced, skin on
1 tbsp black pepper
32 oz chicken or vegetable broth
2 c (or so) milk
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill weed or 1 tsp dried
- Melt butter in soup pot over medium heat.
- Add celery and onions and cook until softened.
- Add potatoes, dill seed, and pepper. Cook another 2 min,
- Add broth. It should just cover the potatoes. If not, add a bit of water. Cover and bring to a low boil. Cook until potatoes are soft and you can smash them with a spoon.
- Add milk and cook uncovered about another 5 minutes until milk warms up. If you're using dried dill weed, put it in now.
- You have many texture options here. I like to just stand over the pot and smash a bunch of the potatoes against the side of the pot with the back of a spoon to give the soup some thickness while leaving several chunks. You could also ladle 1/2 or all of the soup into a blender, puree it and return it to the pot. Or, if you've got a handy immersion blender, you could attack it that way. Or, just leave it alone—up to you.
- Garnish with fresh dill, add salt to taste.
|Not beautiful, but that's OK for us peasants.|