Monday, November 9, 2009

Vegetable Beef Barley Soup

I confess, when writing the title above, I had to spend some time thinking about in what order I should put the words. More often than not, I would make a soup that has a combination of two of the three: Beef Vegetable Soup, Vegetable/Mushroom Barley Soup, Beef Barley Soup, etc. This week, I didn't want to have to choose so I put everything in the pot together. Good move - it totally rocked!

The inspiration for making this soup came from a posting to our neighborhood message board that read "We purchased the side of a cow just under a year ago and have several parts that we will not use. This cow was grass fed with no hormones or antibiotics." Below, where there was a list of parts available for the taking, a few items above "9 packages of beef fat" was written "soup bones." Sign me up! Coincidentally, the vegetable co-op resumed delivery for the fall that same week so there were fresh veggies, green beans and corn, to add in the pot as well.

My mom tells the story about taking me to the pediatrician when I was a toddler, and being quizzed about what she fed me. She said he raised an eyebrow when she told him that she often gave me soup for dinner. A can of Campbell's wouldn't qualify, but a bowl of this soup definitely counts as a complete meal. Fresh veggies, barley, grass-fed beef (ok, not the leanest cut out there) but this is a very satisfying meal. Usually we would first eat a bowl of soup with just the veggies, and have the meat afterwards with horseradish. Mmmm.

Plus, making this soup and using the fresh corn gave me a opportunity to use the bundt pan for a different reason. I'm pretty sure that genius Alton Brown is probably the one who gets props to introducing me to this idea. It works really, really well. Even better if you can keep one hand on the cob, one on the knife and let someone else take the photo for you. Getting out the bundt pan made me want to have something sweet while the savory soup was simmering on the stove. Note to self: make more desserts for the blog!

Vegetable Beef Barley Soup
Inspired from my childhood

A few beef bones for soup (2-3 pounds)
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, peeled & diced
2 ears of corn, kernels removed
1/2 lb fresh green beans, trimmed & cut into 3/4" length
1 15oz can diced tomatoes
1 32oz container beef broth (4C)
4 Cup water
3/4 Cup pearled barley, rinsed

Heat soup pot over medium-high heat, brown beef bones for about 5 minutes on each side then remove from pot. Add onions, celery and carrots and sautee for about 5 minutes. Add corn, green beans and tomatoes. Add all of the liquid - broth and water, the barley and stir to combine. Return beef to the pot, along with any juices that may have accumulated on the plate. Cover the pot, reduce heat to maintain gentle simmer, and cook for three hours.

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