Beef and Barley Soup
Beef stew meat is a great bargain, cut from tougher cuts of beef that are best cooked low and slow. This classic soup takes a pound of beef, some vegetables and grain for a hearty soup to feed a crowd.
3 tablespoons unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound lean stew meat, cut into 1" chunks
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
15 ounces diced tomatoes , canned, with juice
1/2 cup pearled barley
1 quart beef stock (to keep costs down, use a concentrated soup paste or bouillon or make your own stock)
2 cups water
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- In a shallow bowl combine flour and salt. Dredge chunks of meat in flour mixture to coat completely.
- In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat olive oil, then quickly brown chunks of beef.
To cook in a slow cooker: Use a slotted spoon to transfer the beef to the crockpot and add the remaining ingredients. Cook for 7 hours, and adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
To cook on the stovetop: Use a slotted spoon to transfer the beef to a bowl when it is browned on the outside but not cooked through. To the oil in the pan, add onions and garlic and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the beef, carrots, celery, tomato, barley, stock, water, thyme, bay leaf, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, just barely bubbling. Cook for 30 minutes, and test the barley to see if it’s tender. If necessary, simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove bay leaf before serving.
Yield: 6 servings