Saturday, January 31, 2009

Beef Barley Soup

There is something about barley in a soup. It provides this thick, buttery texture to the whole broth. In fact, if you want to get really crazy, start a barley soup with a butter roux. The barley will incorporate the butter and make something truly awesome.

I made this soup with venison because it was in my freezer, but it is actually even better with ground beef. It is also really good with no meat at all and more vegetables. In fact, years and years ago when I was working at a restaurant, we got a huge bag of jicamas delivered by accident. They are usually eaten raw in a salad or in a stir-fry, but we used them in a soup with barley. Wouldn't you know, we actually had to start ordering jicamas because people went wild for the soup. And this was Bel Air, MD in 1996. Ceasar salad was considered ethnic food.

Ingredients: 3 quarts broth, 1 lbs 1/2 inch cubes of beef or venison, flour to coat, oil, 2 diced carrots, 2 diced celery spears, 1 diced yellow onion, 1/2 lbs chopped mushrooms, 3/4 cup barley, 2 tbs. thyme, pepper to taste (after it's done)

  • Toss meat lightly in flour and brown in a hot oiled pan
  • Remove meat and put aside, throw in vegetables
  • Cooke vegetables until soft
  • Add meat, barley and broth
  • Bring to a boil and then cook on low for 2 hours (or overnight in slow cooker, as I did)
Serves 8 (1.75 cup portions)

Note: Especially with the slow cooker, browning the meat and sauteing the vegetables is not so crucial.

Frugal Factor: I would pay $4.50 for grass fed beef or $2.25 for supermarket beef, $2 for the mushrooms at discount produce (maybe $3.50 at the supermarket), and I'm guessing $0.75 for the carrot, onion, celery, and barley. So that's $5.00-$8.75 or $0.63-$1.10/portion. Either way, it's cheaper and better than a can.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for a terrific recipe Rob. I made this Sunday and have been enjoying the leftovers for lunch. I will definitely make this again.


Anonymous said...

It was great to see you and steal your cat's favorite place to sit. Post something with sauerkraut! Rachel