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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Friday, April 08, 2011

Beef and Barley Soup

Old Man Winter is not letting go of his chilly grasp just yet.  In fact we encountered rather ugly roads with heavy slush and freezing rains coming home from the kids this past weekend.  As a result I'm still in soup making mode.  Soups are just so easy to make and they are one dish where you can let your creativity run wild.  Basically anything goes with soups as long as you have a stock or broth and one or more vegetables then one or more of optional ingredients like meat or poultry, grains, lentils, dried beans or noodles.

beef and barley soup
Barley is a rather underused grain in our home and yet is it very easy to cook.  It goes quite nicely in a soup especially anything beef based.  I made a delicious beef and barley soup a couple of nights ago.  Unlike a lot of my beef soups I added tomato paste to the stock for a zesty flavour. 

While I keep a lot of home canned stocks on hand and use a lot of stocks in cooking I often make soups right from scratch.  That is I make the stock first usually using a pressure cooker than I finish off the soup on the stovetop or in the slow cooker.  This allows me the greatest level of creativity to take the soup in which ever direction desired.

Beef and Barley Soup

2 beef soup bones
1 medium onion
1 carrot
1 parsnip
1 stalk celery

Wash but do not peel vegetables.  Cut carrots, parsnip and celery into 3-inch pieces.  Cut unpeeled onion into quarters.  Place vegetables and soup bones in 6 L pressure cooker.  Fill with water to the  ⅔ mark on the pressure cooker.  Secure the lid.  Place on high heat to bring to pressure.  Reduce heat to just the point where the pressure cooker maintains pressure.  Cook for 40 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to de-pressurize.

Add 1 lb stew beef and about 2 c of water.  Bring pressure cooker to pressure then cook 30 minutes.  Remove from heat and let de-pressurize.  Remove meat pieces and any meat from the bones.  Cut meat pieces into bite size and place in slow cooker.  Strain the stock mixture pouring stained stock into slow cooker.

Add:

1 bay leaf
6 oz tomato paste
⅔ c barley (soaked using quick method)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Cook in slow cooker on high 2 hours.  Sauté a half pound of sliced mushrooms in butter.  Drain and stir into soup.  Add 2 cups frozen peas.  Continue cooking on high 10 minutes.  Remove bay leaf and serve.


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