Beef and Barley Soup
Ready in 1 hour 15 minutes
Serves : 8
1 lb. beef stew meat
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 med onion
3 cloves garlic
1 cup or 1 lb. chopped carrots
1 cup or 1/2 bunch celery
8 oz. button mushrooms
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine (optional)
3 extra lg cubes beef bouillon
6 cups water
1 cup uncooked barley
2 whole bay leaves
3 sprigs thyme
4 medium (1.5 lbs) red potatoes (optional)
to taste salt and pepper
Cut the stew meat into smaller chunks (1 inch or smaller).
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot and cook stew meat until it is brown and crispy on the outside surface.
Remove the meat from the pot and set aside.
Dice the onion and mince the garlic as the meat is cooking.
Add the onion and garlic to the pot to cook in the vegetable oil and meat drippings.
Cook until softened (2-3 min).
Wash, peel and chop the celery and carrots as they cook.
Add the celery and carrots and cook 2-3 minutes more.
Wash and slice the mushrooms as the carrots and celery are cooking.
Add the mushrooms and cook until most of the moisture has evaporated out of the pot.
Add the tomato paste, stir and cook for 1-2 minutes more allowing the tomato paste to caramelize.
Add the wine to the pot.
Stir the wine allowing it to dissolve anything stuck to the bottom of the pot.
Add the cooked meat back to the pot along with 6 cups of beef broth (bouillon + water), bay leaves, thyme and dry barley.
Bring the mixture up to a boil then reduce the heat and let simmer for about 45 minutes with a lid in place.
During the last 5-10 minutes of the simmer time, wash and chop the potatoes.
Add the potatoes to the pot and allow to cook 15 minutes more.
The potatoes, meat and barley should all be tender by this time.
Because potatoes draw salt out of soups, give it a final taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
Remove the bay leaves and thyme stems.