Beef and Barley Soup

Serves 8 as a meal, or 12-14 as an
accompaniment for salad or sandwich

1 1/2 lb beef brisket, sliced 1/4″ thick across the grain by your butcher
3 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
1 lb russet potatoes, peeled and cubed, set aside in ice water
1 med carrot, minced
1/2 c minced, mixed dried mushrooms
1 lg sweet onion, chopped
4 med Roma tomatoes, blanched, skinned, seeded and chopped
1/2 c frozen green sweet peas
2 stalks celery, minced
3 qts beef stock or broth
2/3 c (Bob’s Red Mill, or other) Rolled Barley
1/3 c pearled barley, soaked in warm water for 3 hrs
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 t thyme
1 t summer savory
2 bay leaves (remove before serving)
1/2 t rubbed sage
1 t sweet paprika
1 t smokey, hot paprika
1 T worcestershire sauce
salt and black pepper

  • soak pearl barley for 3 hrs before starting the soup
  • in a large soup pot, brown and render chopped bacon.  When crisp, remove the bacon bits with a slotted spoon and allow to cool before bagging in the fridge for use later in another recipe or salad.
  • fry slices of brisket in bacon fat over med heat until cooked tender and nicely brown.  Remove meat from the pot and set aside to cool.
  • Deglaze the pot with beef stock and stir thoroughly. Add carrots, celery, pearled barley, garlic, onion,  herbs and seasonings.  Bring to a boil.
  • While veggies in stock are coming to a boil, mince the brisket to 1/4″ bits.  Return chopped beef to the soup pot and bring back to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and cover.  Simmer on a low, slow boil for 1 1/2 hrs, stirring occasionally.
  • Add Rolled barley to soup, and continue to simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Add cubed potatoes and frozen peas, and return to a slow boil and cook another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Finally, add chopped tomatoes and dried mushrooms, and simmer on low for another 20-30 minutes.  Adjust seasoning to taste and serve with thin slices of toast.

The broth of this soup should be thin enough to see through, so additional water should be added if it reduces too much.  The starch from the barley and potatoes will provide a slight thickening.

1/2 c good sherry (not cooking sherry) can be added just before serving for an interesting flavor variation.  Alternately, 1/2 c of stout or brown ale can be added.

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