Now that the winter coat has come out of the closet (and onto my slightly chilled self on the way to work), it’s officially soup season at House Morell. This is welcomed with a fair bit of dread from the men of the house… who see right through my efforts to add more vegetables to their lives through steaming bowls of soup.
They should know by now I’m not a gal who appreciates wimpy soups – the kind that leave you hungry a few hours after dinner. Honestly, I’ve never quite understood the point of consommé (unless you have a stomach flu, of course. Then it makes perfect sense.) I want a soup that’s loaded with veggies and grains and is hearty and incredibly flavorful. The boys in my house demand meat in their soup to even out all those sneaky veggies. And I’m good with that.
Ladies and gentleman, let me introduce you to this rich and hearty wonder… To the traditional beef and barley soup, add carrots, onions and mushrooms sautéed with a bit of sherry. And of course some tomatoes and thyme… oh and a bit of Worcestershire sauce. Oh my… no one will accuse this soup of wimpiness…
Even my veggie-averse boys were impressed.
Not a bad way to kick off the soup season.
Rich and Hearty Beef Barley Soup
- 1 tablespoon good olive oil
- 1 pound stew meat
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups (1/2-inch) diced carrots (3 carrots)
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion (one large onion)
- 1/2 cup (1/2-inch) diced celery (2 stalks)
- 2 cups sliced button mushrooms
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons sherry
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 4 cups organic beef broth
- 1 can diced tomatoes (I used fire-roasted, but plain would be fine)
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup pearled barley
Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset. Season the beef with salt and pepper, and add it to the pot. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes until browned all over. Remove the beef with a slotted spoon and reserve.
Add the carrots, onion, celery, garlic and mushrooms to the fat in the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, until the vegetables start to brown. Add the sherry to the vegetables and stir for about a minute – until some of the liquid dissolves. Return the beef to the pot and add the broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and thyme. Raise the heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, bring 4 cups of water to a boil and add the barley. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, drain, and set aside.
When the soup is ready, add the barley and cook the soup for another 15 or 20 minutes, until the barley is tender. Depending on the saltiness of the stock, the soup might need another teaspoon of salt and some pepper. Serve hot. Preferably with a loaf of warm crusty bread and lots of butter.