When the crisp autumn air makes its first appearance, grab a sweater, build a fire and make this wonderful homemade beef barley soup.
Wild mushrooms give it a rich, bold flavor. The best stew meat is from the chuck. If your butcher doesn’t have stew meat, buy a 1 ½-pound piece of boneless chuck and cut it into 1- to 2-inch cubes. Dried porcini mushrooms are available at Italian markets, specialty food stores, and many supermarkets.
Yield About 8 Servings
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 12 ounces (about 7 cups) assorted fresh wild mushrooms (such as shitake, crimini, and oyster), sliced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 ½ pounds beef stew meat
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- ½ cup dried porcini mushrooms, broken into pieces
- 4 cups beef broth
- ½ pound parsnips, peeled and diced
- ½ pound carrots, peeled and diced
- ¾ cup pearl barley
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or 2 tablespoons dried
- Salt and pepper
Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add the fresh mushrooms and onions. Saute until the mushrooms brown, about 18 minutes.
Add the beef and garlic and cook until the beef browns, about 6 minutes. Add 3 cups water, the porcini mushrooms, and the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the meat is very tender, about 1 ½ hours.
Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made up to 3 days ahead. Cool slightly at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate. Reheat over medium heat.)
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