March 07, 2012

All Grown Up...

 I turned 40 a few days ago (gasp) and when I was younger I had always used that particular age as a benchmark for being "a real grown up".   I would venture to say that it technically makes me one by my way of thinking but to be perfectly honest, that is entirely debatable.

 That being said it led me to thinking about some of my favorites from childhood.   We all grew up with soup in that red & white can and while I am a steadfast lover of tomato, one that was always in the regular rotation for me was beef barley.   I know...  most kids would've picked chicken noodle and given my adoration for all things starch it would be the obvious choice, only it never had enough noodles.

There was just something about that broth, it was sweet and tangy from the tomato and the barley was just chewy enough to give it texture.  It may not be haute cuisine or even slightly elevated, but I loved it.

Feeling a bit nostalgic, I thought that it might be time to revisit a favorite from the past...  and like me, my soup should be grown up as well.

Beef Barley
  • 1 lb stew meat (beef)
  • 4 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium onions,  finely diced
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (I used petite cut)
  • 32 oz beef broth or stock
  • 1 c. frozen peas
  • 1/2 c. pearled barley
  • 2 bay leaves (fresh if available)
  • 2 - 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper

  1. In a medium to large stock pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add beef and sear on all sides.  Season with salt and pepper.
  3. When beef has a good sear on all sides, remove from pot and set aside.
  4. Add onions and cook until translucent, season with salt and pepper
  5. Add celery and carrots,  cook until softened (about 6-8 minutes)
  6. Sprinkle flour over the vegetables and stir to coat.  Let flour cook out for a few minutes, then add beef back into the pot and pour in the beef broth/stock.
  7. Add remaining ingredients and let soup simmer until barley is cooked (about 45 minutes)
  8. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

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