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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Beef Barley Soup warms the soul....

I wanted to make this soup without going to the grocery store at all cost!  It is just too darn cold outside.... so I read a whole bunch of recipes for Beef Barley soup, just to get started.  I had all the basics, so I breathed a sigh of relief and started chopping carrots, Vidalia onion, garlic and celery.

I put them in my soup pot, along with a couple of tablespoons of butter, and some thyme.  Once they begin to feel tender, I add one box of beef broth, and let that simmer off to the side.  Now for the beef part.  Turns out the only beef I had in the freezer besides hamburger, was a bag of steak tips.  I figure, why not?  it's beef......right?

So I cut them up into bite-sized pieces and brown them in a dry pan.  I find if I add any type of oil or butter, the beef begins to cook in it's own juice instead of browning.   The meat doesn't have to be cooked through, because it will finish cooking in the soup.

Once it is browned, I add it to my soup pot and let the soup simmer on low for about an hour.  This is where I tend to veer away from any recipes I have read, and think about what other seasonings I want to add..

I decide to throw in about 3 bay leaves, some fresh parsley, and a little more thyme.  I take a taste and find that I taste a lot of celery and carrots, and it seems a little too salty for me, so I add a couple of cups of water......  much better. I wonder if Worcestershire sauce would be good in it?  I put a small amount of soup into a bowl, and try it.  Wow!  great idea.  I probably add about a tablespoon worth, and taste again.

The last thing to add is the barley.  I have to laugh, because I was talking to a friend today, who said that a couple of times they tried to make Beef Barley soup, and ended up adding too much because it looks so small and innocent when it is uncooked, and it doesn't need to cook for more than about 20 minutes.  If left too long, it puffs up and doubles in size!

So I think I added  a half cup for the size pot I was using, which is smaller than I normally use.  I'm trying to practice making smaller portions, now that 3 of my 4 kids are all back to school and I only have to cook for 3 people!

Unfortunately, by the time my soup was done, no one was hungry, so it has now become a leftover!  Fortunately, soup only gets better the longer it sits around, so hopefully it will be dinner tonight!

stay warm......

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