Now that the weather is getting cool, soups are a great way to keep warm. Barley is grown all around the world and it’s the fourth largest grain crop after corn, rice and wheat. It is abundant in North America and a major source of animal feed. However, the best known use of barley is in beer production. Barley is readily available at most grocery stores, either in small bags or in bulk and is an economical way to add body to a soup. I prefer pearl barley, which should be clearly labelled on the package. If you can’t locate barley, you can substitute long grain rice.
This recipe can easily be adapted to become vegetarian: use vegetable stock, eliminate the beef, add an extra 1/4 cup of raw barley and some extra mushrooms.
Beef, Barley and Mushroom Soup
Makes approximately 8 cups
(Can be adapted to be VEGETARIAN)
- 12 to 14 oz. (340 – 397 g) beef, cut into 1/2″ dice
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil OR neutral oil, such as canola or safflower
- 2 cups thickly sliced white mushrooms
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 6 cups (1.5 L) low-sodium beef stock
- 1 Tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
- 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 3/4 cup pearl barley
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a large stockpot or enameled cast iron pot, heat oil on medium high heat. Add beef cubes and sauté until browned on all sides, about 2 minutes. Remove beef from pot and set aside.
- Add mushrooms, carrot, onion and celery to pot. Sauté until all vegetables are softened, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add garlic and thyme. Cook another 30 seconds and add Worchestershire sauce and tomato paste. Stir until combined. Return beef to pot.
- Add stock. Bring to a simmer and add barley. Cover pot and cook until tender, about 30 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Bon Appétit and Enjoy!