Vegetable Beef and Barley Soup
1 pound beef, cubed (I used stew meat, just over a pound)
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, sliced in half moons
3 large carrots, sliced in half, then sliced in half moons
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 lb crimini mushrooms, sliced or chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary
1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 large dried bay leaves
1 15-ounce can petite diced tomatoes
1 cup dry pearl barley
5 cups water
5 cups beef broth
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Season the beef with salt and pepper. In a large soup pot over medium high heat, cook the beef until browned and nearly done, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat to a bowl and set aside.
Turn the heat down to medium and add the onion, celery and carrots and 1 teaspoon Kosher salt to the rendered fat in the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are nearly tender, about 6 minutes. Add the mushrooms, stir, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, until the mushrooms are just browned and moderately soft. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
Add the sherry, scraping all cooked bits from the bottom of the pan, if any. Add the rosemary, thyme, black pepper, bay leaves, petite diced tomatoes, dry barley and reserved beef cubes and stir to combine. Pour in the water and beef broth.
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat slightly until the soup is at a low rolling boil/hard simmer (without lid). Let the soup simmer for 35-40 minutes, or until the barley is fully cooked. Add the peas and stir until they are heated through, just a minute or two. Turn the heat off, remove the bay leaves and stir in the chopped parsley.
Serve in big warm bowls with more pepper and/or Tabasco sauce on the side.
So. So. Good. It’s making me happy just typing up the recipe. Soul happy.
I thought all day about coming home and making this soup, hoping I could come close to the memory of my grandmother’s beef, mushroom and barley soup I loved growing up. This was… yeah, I’m going to say it… better. It’s fresh and healthy – chock full of vegetables and herbs, no oil, no butter – but it’s also incredibly hearty and warming. That’s soup nirvana.