Beef barley soup
We broke a record for rainfall yesterday. It was so dark and gloomy, I turned on cheery lights as I went from room to room.
After being on the road for a long weekend, was tired of eating out and craved some good, homemade comfort food. I needed to sear good meat in my Dutch oven and brown onions in rich olive oil. I needed our little house to smell snug and warm in that gloom. I opened a bottle of good red wine mid-afternoon and got to work.
My sister in law told me about a soup a few days ago that sounded exactly right. It was perfect. We ate it with Portland French bread along with a new bottle of wine. (The earlier one was gone.)
A recipe modified from Martha Stewart.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound chuck steak, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 medium carrots, chopped
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic (from 4 cloves)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3/4 cup dry red wine
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 3 cups water
- 3/4 cup pearl barley, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Heat 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon oil in a medium Dutch oven or a large pot over medium-high heat. Season beef with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and in two batches, brown on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon.
Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil, and cook onion, carrot, and mushrooms until golden, stirring occasionally, 12 to 15 minutes.
Add garlic and tomato paste, and cook, stirring, until caramelized, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and add wine. Return to heat, and bring to a boil, scraping up brown bits from bottom using a wooden spoon. Cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
Return beef to pot, and add stock and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
Add barley, and cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Uncover, and cook until beef and barley are tender, 20 to 25 minutes more. Add more water if necessary. Stir in parsley. Divide soup among 6 bowls.