I think beef barley soup gets a bad rap sometimes. Let’s face it…it’s brown, kinda drab looking and something we’ve all eaten since we were kids. It doesn’t have a bunch of fancy ingredients in it. In fact, it’s usually a soup that we throw together using a cut of beef that’s usually on sale, chuck roast. So it’s one of those dollar stretching recipes. But why not make a homemade soup that’s a little more special than what you are used to eating? If you’re making it yourself, you can do things that make the ho-hum more hoo hah!
Of course you’re thinking that I’m going to take an easy to make soup recipe and turn it into something that’s time consuming and expensive…so of course it would taste better. But big surprise, I’m not. No this beef barley soup recipe is still easy to make and one of those fairly inexpensive dollar stretching dinner recipes.
Since chuck roast is usually on sale at one of our local grocery stores, that’s the cut of meat I use in this soup. By the time this cooks in the soup, it’s meltingly tender so don’t worry about it being tough. In addition to the barley in the soup, I also add some lentils as another way to bulk up the soup and to add some more protein. What else is special about this beef barley soup? Instead of only using onions, there is a combination of onions and leeks and I stir in some Sherry to give it just a hint of flavor that no one is able to figure out…but it’s fantastic with this rich soup.
While this homemade soup was bubbling away on the stove, I had the dog sprawled out in the middle of the kitchen floor. While that may not sound strange to you, our ‘little’ beast is not a fan of being in the kitchen. I had to step over her almost the entire time I was making this. (Especially when I was browning the chuck roast…I could practically hear her begging me to drop some beef on the floor for her.) I suppose it has something to do with all the beef that’s in it. The other obstacle in kitchen, while I was making this was Craig. He too only shows up in the kitchen when he smells something he likes. I was beating him off with a wooden spoon. Between the two of them, I was really surprised there was anything left in the pot to call soup. (He was sneaking bits of meat for himself and the dog.)
Storm of the century will be determined 9 months from now when we see the size of the baby boom it creates.
Recipe: Beef Barley Soup
- 1/2 Ounce Chopped Dried Porcini Mushrooms
- 2 – 3 Pounds Chuck Roast (trimmed and cut into 1″ cubes)
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Large Onion (sliced thin)
- 2 Leeks (white and light green parts sliced thin)
- 3 Carrots (chopped)
- 2 Ribs Celery (chopped)
- 1/2 Cup Lentils (brown or green)
- 10 Cups Beef Broth
- 1/4 Cup Sherry
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
- 3 Bay Leaves
- Kosher Salt
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1 Cup Barley
- Soak the porcini mushrooms in 2 cups of hot water and set aside.
- Pour the olive oil into a large 6 quart pan and heat over medium high heat.
- Once oil is hot, add the cubed beef and brown on all sides (you may have to do this in batches so you don’t crowd the pan). Once browned, remove the beef to a plate.
- After all of the beef is browned add the onions, leeks, carrots and celery. Add a pinch of salt and saute the vegetables until the onions begin to caramelize and the vegetables brown on their edges (7-10 minutes).
- Add the soaked mushrooms and the soaking water, browned beef, lentils, broth, sherry, thyme, bay leaves, a large pinch of salt, and several grinds of black pepper to the pot.
- Stir to combine everything and bring soup to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 90 minutes.
- While the soup is cooking, Cook the barley in a large pot of water for 20 minutes. Then drain the barley and set aside.
- After the soup has cooked for 90 minutes, add the barley to the soup and cook for 15 minutes longer.
This soup tastes even better the next day. Just be aware that the barley will soak up a lot of the broth when it sits in the refrigerator. You may need to add a bit of water to the soup when you re-heat it.
Preparation time: 25 minute(s)
Cooking time: 1 hour(s) 45 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 6
Culinary tradition: USA (Traditional)
Recipe by Pamela Braun.