Beef and Barley soup is the quintessential fall/winter hearty soup. There are so many nutrients and vegetables in this soup that will pick you up if you are felling sick. The beef and broth will also warm you right up on a cold day and give you the energy to continue on. My mom always made this soup when I was sick because she knows it was my favorite and I guess its only right to pay that forward. When I asked me mom to send me the recipe I was not really surprised to see it was a Barefoot Contessa recipe. Of course it is, she is queen - all hail the Contessa! Ill post the original link below. ENJOY!
1 TBSP of Olive Oil
2 Lbs of Stewing Beef
2TSP of Salt (divided into 1 TSP portions)
2 TSP Pepper (divided into 1 TSP portions)
2 Cups of Leek (clean and chopped white bit - green bit is no good)
2 Cups of Carrots (peeled and chopped)
1 Large Spanish or Yellow Onion (chopped)
1 Cup of Celery (copped)
3 Bay Leaves
2 Stings of Thyme
8 Cups of Beef Broth
1 Cup of Uncooked Barley (rinsed)
In a large pot heat up your oil on medium heat. Once ready throw in your stewing beef. Add 1 TSP of salt and pepper. Allow to cook for about 10 minutes stirring periodically. You want the beef to be browned on all sides and to let out the fat and juices.
Once the beef is browned remove the beef and set aside but leave the juices!! We are going to use the juice to cook the vegetables so once the beef is out throw in the leeks, carrots, celery and onion! Let that cook releasing the water from the vegetables and cooking them down for 10 minutes. They will also absorb some of the oils/fats left behind from the meat - YUM!
Once the vegetables are cooked down you can add your meat back in as well as your 2 springs of thyme, bay leaves and beef broth. You can also add in your remaining salt and pepper at this time. Bring to a boil before lowering to a simmer and covering. You will need to let the soup continue to cook on a simmer for an hour.
In the meantime we are going to cook the barley so bring four cups of water in a separate pot to a boil and throw in your barley and reduce to a simmer. Let the barley simmer UNCOVERED for 30 minutes before you drain and set it aside.
When the 60 minutes is up for the soup throw in the barley and continue to cook for 15-20 minutes. Depending on how you like your soup you may want to add some salt and pepper before serving. Also I like to remove the thyme and bay leaves so that they dont get in peoples bowls.
Original Recipe -> http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/rich-beef-barley-soup-recipe.html
I hope you enjoyed this recipe as much as I do. If you have any comments please leave them below and I'll be happy to answer them as soon as I can! Happy cooking!!!