Monday, November 17, 2008

Beef Barley Soup

A richly flavorful, thick broth with chunks of savory vegetables, tender beef, and hearty barley.

 I started with about a pound of chuck, cut by hand into medium dice.  That gets nicely browned (in bacon fat- mmmm), then celery, onion, garlic, and thick rounds of carrot are added and lightly sauteed.  Next, some tomato paste, and paprika get added and cooked until the bottom of the pot is starting to have a nice brown "fond" (in other words, the juices are sticking to the pot and caramelizing).  

This is how I store the rest of the can of tomato paste in the freezer.  It's pre- chunked so I can just take a little bit.

The liquid for this soup is beef broth, red wine, and a little dried shiitake mushroom soaking water.  Those shiitakes, some thyme, and the barley get added along with the liquids, and the soup cooks for about an hour.  You have to dutifully skim the frothy stuff that comes up, otherwise your soup will look and taste a bit muddy and greasy.

Near the end, I added some white mushrooms that I had sauteed separately.  I had a nice comforting bowl when I got home from a Mom's Night Out.  It was just right.

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