KITCHEN KORNER: Hot and Hearty Beef Barley Soup for a Cool Fall Night

170px-Hordeum-barleyBeef Barley Soup

When the crisp autumn air makes its first appearance, grab a sweater, build a fire and make this wonderful homemade beef barley soup.

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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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