My son and I were huddled up in my big comfy chair the other night watching Netflix when I turned to him and asked the daily question..."Any dinner druthers for tomorrow night?" Usually I get a smart response like--"Food" from him 🙄. But this time he quickly responded, "Beef and Barley Soup would be nice." Me--🤔
Normally, I would serve this soup in late October when the skies are grey and the air temperature is cool and crisp. Well, guess what...the skies have been grey and the air temperature has been cool and crisp lately; not to mention the rain. So it was the perfect time to pull out this recipe. It's easy and I know everyone LOVES it!
The original recipe called for chicken broth--???, this is a beef soup, so I like to use a mixture of mainly beef broth and a little chicken broth. I also add garlic because everything is better with garlic. I use a slurry of a bit more chicken broth and cornstarch at the end of cooking to give the soup a little body. Then I finish the soup with Worcestershire sauce for a deeper flavor, and red wine vinegar and fresh parsley to give it a bright and fresh taste.
Quick Beef and Barley Soup
1/4 dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed and patted dry
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 pounds blade steak, trimmed, sliced thin, and cut into a medium dice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried thyme
6 cups low-sodium beef stock
1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon low-sodium chicken broth, divided
2/3 cup quick-cooking barley
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/4 chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine the mushrooms and water, cover and cook until the mushrooms are soft, about 1 minute. Strain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid, and chop the mushrooms fine; set aside.
Pat the beef dry with paper towels and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook beef until well browned all over, about 5 minutes. Transfer the beef to a plate.
Add the remaining oil to the Dutch oven. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, and mushrooms and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broths, reserved porcini liquid and barley, and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over medium until barley is tender, about 12-15 minutes. Uncover the pot and bring to a boil. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and remaining tablespoon of broth. Add the mixture to the soup and cook until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Add the beef and any accumulated juices. Stir in the Worcestershire, vinegar, and parsley. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Enjoy!
Source: Adapted from America's Test Kitchen: 30-Minute Suppers, Winter 2010