In the Winter I love a good hearty soup with good crusty bread some delicious hard cheese and a green salad. It makes a wonderful dinner that is prepared in one pot. This is a very hearty soup and I say rich because of the beef cubes which add a delicious layer of flavor and make this soup more than a soup more like a meal. As Rachael Ray says a”stoup”. It is thicker than a soup and mine is almost as thick as a stew. You can freeze this soup since it makes so much and you’ll have it for a snowy day when you can’t get to the market for these ingredients.
1 1/2 lbs. Beef Chuck Cubes — the butcher section usually has this pre-cut if not just ask your butcher to cut into cubes for stew
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
1 whole onion chopped ( yellow)
1 large stalk celery– thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves–roughly chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
3/4 cup Red Wine– any dry red wine will do –I used a Malbec
8 cups Beef Broth–you can use low-sodium if you’d like
1 1/2 cups Water– you’ll need more as you finish but use this to start–at least for the first 2 hours
2 Bay Leaves
1/2 Tsp.dried thyme or fresh –1 Tbsp.
1 1/2 Tbsp. Sugar
3/4 cup Pearl Barley such as Quaker Medium Pearled Barley if you can find if not use whatever you can find
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 ” round slices
Dry off the beef cubes with a paper towel then season them generously with Salt and Pepper.
In a large Dutch Oven (Le Crueset) type soup pot, heat 1 Tablespoon of the Vegetable Oil over medium high heat. Add 1/2 the beef and sear it without turning it, until browned on one side–app. 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and add another Tablespoon of Vegetable Oil and continue searing the other 1/2 of the Beef. A little note– you can really sear the beef on one side and transfer it to a plate because it will fully cook in soup. You just want to get a good crust on at least one side of the meat. Remove the meat to a plate and start to prepare the soup.
Lower the heat in pan to medium-low and add the onions, celery and garlic. Cook , stirring frequently and scraping up the brown bits off the bottom of the pan (from the beef) You’ll want to cook until the veggies are soft and onion is translucent, probably another 5 minutes. Don’t burn veggies. You have to keep an eye on them. Lower the heat to a simmer if necessary.
Stir in the tomato paste. Add the beef along with any juices. Add the wine, broth, water , bay leaves, thyme, sugar and a little more salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low . Cover and Simmer for 2 hours.
After 2 hours. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Add the barley and carrots and simmer, covered until the carrots and barley are cooked and the beef is tender. I cooked for another hour and it can simmer for even longer. Taste and adjust the seasonings. If you like a thicker soup ( and I do) simmer uncovered until your desired consistency is reached. For a thinner soup, add a little more water at a time until your desired consistency is reached. It’s not an exact science. I definitely added more water at the end stage.
*Just a little note –this soup will seem very brothy during the beginning stages but once you add the barley it will quickly soak up the broth so be careful not to reduce too quickly. You can always add water or more broth if this happens. Look at photos of the finished product.
Ladle into bowls and serve!
Soup will keep in fridge for 3 days and frozen for 3 months. 3 months is my limit for frozen . When you re-heat it add some water to bring it back to life and you’ll probably need to add a little salt and pepper as well.
Beef Barley and Veggie Soup