Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Seriously Ugly Beef and Barley Soup and all things non-Thanksgiving related

So I like to cook.... obviously, but even someone who likes to cook can have too much of a good thing, and that usually hits around the holidays.  As I searched and flipped through blogs for the past week I have gotten pumpkin and pecan and turkey and stuffing overload.  It's two days until thanksgiving y'all and if you don't have a menu set yet you're probably not reading a food blog... so here is a quick and easy and super vegetable laden dish that is incredibly filling and has nothing to do with thanksgiving at all unless you're referring to giving oneself a break in order to rest up for the big marathon of cooking.  This was very, very, very hearty and we had some overly full people.  Being that it is soup you would think you could eat a big bowl with a salad and a slice of bread and cheese and you would be okay but seriously this stuff is serious. 

I made a few adaptations.  For one the original recipe calls for 1 cup turnips.  I'm not a fan... really, really, not a fan.  I was going to swap them for carrots but completely forgot.  Two, if I'm going to spend the money for filet mignon, I'm probably going to grill it not put it in soup so I used sirloin instead.  I tend to think of soup as a cheap and easy dish... even when it ends up being ridiculous such as often happens with soups like French Onion, or other such soups that might contain expensive or millions of ingredients, the stock if made from scratch being the kicker for the French Onion, or the lobster from the time I made my husband lobster bisque from scratch and it ended up costing about $70 for one bowl of soup as I hated it.  Ridiculous.  I did however take note from other reviewers of the recipe and kept the broccoli and cauliflower in despite what my instincts told me and they were great.  I also listened and added them at the end with the beef and let the whole thing go another 45 minutes.  The problem I did have was that I did the begining of the soup and then let it set and despite being reassured it wouldn't happen the barley became morbidly obese and broth logged.  That irks me to no end.  In the future I will probably add the barley at the very end as well or maybe cook it in a net bag and then remove it or something.  And I will probably use straight beef broth, and possibly homemade.  I'm not sure why it called for chicken stock but it made for the ugliest looking soup you've ever seen.  Almost anemic looking.  In the end it didn't matter because we all ate it and everyone loved it, even the teenager that was looking in the fridge for something else to eat when she discovered what was for dinner.  Happy Thanksgiving and may you have a bit of down time to relax this holiday.

Beef and Barley Soup
adapted from Bon Appetite


1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup chopped peeled yams (red-skinned sweet potatoes)
1 cup chopped peeled potatoes
1 cup chopped celery
5 cups beef stock or canned beef broth
5 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
1 cup pearl barley
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 1/2 pounds filet mignon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley


Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add vegetables; sauté 10 minutes. Add both stocks; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add barley, thyme and oregano. Simmer until barley is tender, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Return to simmer before continuing.)

Add beef to soup; simmer until just cooked, about 10 minutes. Mix in parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

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