Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Beef Barley Soup

It is the slow cooking that makes this such a wonderful soup. Let it gently simmer for a few hours—and save some for the following day when it will be even better.

1 large leek (or 2 small ones), white and light green part, sliced thin
Vegetable oil
1 pound beef cubes (stew beef)
2 tablespoons flour
8 cups (4 pints) Beef stock (or bouillon cubes with water, if you must)
1 celery stalk, trimmed and chopped
1 large carrot, peeled, trimmed and chopped
1 tin plain, chopped tomatoes (including juice)
1 bay leaf
1 pinch dry thyme
¾ cup pearl barley
1) Coat the bottom of a medium-large soup pot with vegetable oil. Set over medium-low heat and add in the leeks. Stir regularly and allow the leeks to sweat, soften then slowly caramelize (turn golden brown).

2) Toss the beef chunks with flour until evenly coated. Remove the soft, colored leeks from the pot (hold on a plate); add in more oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add in the beef chunks (in batches if need be, so not to crowd the pan). Brown the beef chunks (hold browned chunks on a plate while you brown the rest). When all are browned, add the beef and the leeks back into the pot with beef stock and everything else except for the barley. Stir very well the bottom to get up all the brown bits (the ‘fond’). Bring just to a simmer and cook gently for a few hours—do not allow it to boil. One hour before you would like to eat, rinse the barley then add it to the soup and simmer for about 45 minutes (or according to package directions).

Serve with crusty bread. Serves 4.

No comments: