Saturday, December 20, 2008

Special Request

It’s not often that my husband asks me to make something specific for dinner. Most of the time when I ask him what he wants he just shrugs and says, “I dunno, you’re the chef.” Either that, or he suggests burgers. Needless to say, I’ve spoiled him, and the meal planning is pretty much all on me. But the other day, he made a special request for my Beef, Barley & Mushroom Soup.

Beef, Barley & Mushroom Soup it is!

Beef, Barley & Mushroom Soup
Printable Recipe

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 ½ pounds beef chuck, cut into ¾-inch cubes
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
½ cup red wine
3 quarts beef broth
1 ½ cups pearled barley
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced Italian parsley

Heat a large, heavy pot over high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pot. Add half of the beef and cook for 6 to 7 minutes, tossing about 2 times, until crusty and brown in spots.* Using a slotted spoon, remove the beef to a plate. Sear the remaining beef in the same manner and set aside. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion, and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes, or until soft. Add the celery and carrot and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic and tomato paste and sauté for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and sauté 6 to 7 minutes more, or until soft. Add the wine and simmer for a minute or so, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pot with a heat-proof spatula. Return the beef to the pot and add the broth, barley, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring to a boil and simmer for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the beef and barley are both tender. Remove from the heat, discard the bay leaf and thyme sprig, and skim off any fat from the surface of the soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately.

Serves 6 to 8 as a main course. This is hearty, satisfying comfort food, and perfect for the coldest of days. The recipe makes a lot, but it’s even better the second day.

*Searing the beef in this manner adds tons of flavor to the finished dish. For everything you ever wanted to know about searing, plus dozens of fabulous searing recipes, look for my book Seared to Perfection in stores in the fall of 2010.


test it comm said...

That soup looks really good!

avaserfi said...

This looks like a great meal for the current weather,: warm and comforting plus it is hardy! I will have to try this one out soon.

gaga said...

I loooove barley. It's just something about the texture...

This soup looks so hearty and comfy.

Irina said...

Wow! This is my favorite soup. It is a whole meal in one, it tastes wonderful, and the flavor of it added a wonderful fragrance to the whole house.

I must admit though that I put one whole cup of wine.

Thank you.

Daisy Dear said...

I used your recipe to make a variation of this yesterday for my family. It was delicious! Thank you for sharing!

Linda said...

I make this fantastic soup all the time now. There is always some in the freezer because we like it that much. Excellant. We never get tired of it and think it is the best soup ever!!

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