Wet, rainy spring days are made for light, brothy soups. I spotted this one in an old Martha Stewart cookbook I discovered in my stacks. The cookbook was first published in 1997 and while that doesn’t seem like that long ago, it feels as dated as if it was published in 1977.
It is full of recipes for Red Pepper Coulis and Poppy Seed Vinaigrette, things that now seem dainty and gratuitous. It’s hard to believe that much has changed but the 90’s were before the explosion of the word sustainable and before Rachael Ray. Apart from casseroles and the grill, seasonal food and cooking was still considered gourmet; a little bit fancy.
As I paged through this relic from decades past I came across this rich beef soup. It was wonderful, the beef was tender and there was just enough barley to add body without soaking up all the broth. I guess some things transcend the ages.
Beef and Barley Soup Recipe
Rich beef broth with hunks of tender meat, chewy barley, and vegetables.
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Healthy Quick Cook
- Yield: 4 1x
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 medium yellow onion, medium dice
- 2 medium carrots, medium dice
- 1 stalk celery, medium dice
- 6 cups beef stock or low-sodium beef broth
- 1/4 cup pearl barley, rinsed
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- torn fresh basil or Italian parsley leaves for garnish, optional
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add beef and season generously with salt and pepper. Brown evenly, then remove from pot with a slotted spoon.
- Add remaining tablespoon of oil. Once shimmering add onion and cook until translucent. Add carrots and celery and season with salt and pepper. Cook until onions start to brown, about 10 minutes.
- Add 1/2 cup of the stock and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add remaining stock, beef, barley, and thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a slow simmer and cook, covered, until meat is tender about an hour.
- Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Remove thyme stems and serve with a sprinkling of herbs if desired.