Beef, Leek and Barley Soup

22 Oct

I like all things Aussie and I think that burger is no exception. What a great flavor pop to add to a burger – good on ya, Alice!

The weather here in Minnesota has turned cool and gloomy these days, so what better than to make a big pot of soup. And how about a soup that is very easy to put together, that just sits on the back burner and simmers away while you’re busy with other things around the house? And bonus points for that soup to smell so amazing that it is hard to go about the other things around the house because all you can think of is how delicious that soup smells!

Well, have I found a soup for all of those things.

This Beef, Leek and Barley soup is taken from Laurie Colwin’s Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen and it is a keeper. It’s just as good for a nice dinner with guests as it is a cozy dinner at home on your coffee table with only a very curious cat for company.

It calls for short ribs with the bones, as those bones add so much flavor to soup. Of course, my butcher was out of short ribs with bones, so he suggested I get some boneless ribs and add a package of soup bones to the pot. That’s what I did. You’ll want to use a well marbled piece of meat so it just falls apart in the soup. These may also be called chuck ribs.

Chop up your ingredients. In addition to the simple beef, leeks, onions, garlic and barley you can add other ingredients to the soup as well. Such as lima beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots or whatever suits your fancy. I added dehydrated Asian mushrooms.

On another note, leeks make me happy. They are so delicious and mellow that they add a lovely flavor to whatever you are cooking.

If you haven’t cooked with them before, definitely give them a try. You won’t regret it. I don’t use them often enough, so to get a jump start on my New Years’ resolutions, I resolve to make more dishes with leeks in them.

One thing to note about leeks is that they hold quite a bit of sand in their lovely layers. You should always soak the leeks in cool water after chopping them up.

Swish them around in a large bowl of water, then scoop them out carefully so you don’t accidentally get any of the sand that has collected in the bottom of the bowl in your soup. See?

Add all of your ingredients to a large stock pot with the water and let it simmer over medium-low for three hours.

If you prefer your barley to have a bit of chewyness to it  rather than a softer, mushy texture, feel free to keep that out of the soup for the first two hours of cooking.

Add the barley and mix it in well, then let the soup continue to simmer as you reorganize your pantry (yes, that is exactly what I’m doing…how did you know??)

When the soup is cooked, remove any bones in the pan, cut up the meat into bite-sized pieces and skim off any fat that has floated to the top. If you’d like to remove more of the fat, put the pot in the refrigerator until it has solidified at the top of the pan and spoon it off before reheating the soup and serving it.

The soup is delicious the next day. The flavors intensify as it sits, so don’t be afraid to make a very large pot of this soup so you have leftovers.

Bon Appetit, Alice! Are you hungry yet?

Beef, Leek and Barley Soup
Adapted from Laurie Colwin’s Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen

2 meaty short ribs, trimmed of excess fat
3 cloves of garlic
2 onions, chopped
3 leeks, cut lengthwise and chopped (use white and green parts)
1/2 cup barley
Black pepper to taste
8 cups of water or beef stock

Place the short ribs in the bottom of your soup pot. Add the barley, garlic, onions and leeks. If you are using any additional vegetables, add those at this time as well. Grind in some black pepper.

Add eight cups of water or beef stock and let it simmer on the back burner for at least three hours.

Before serving, skim off the fat, remove bones and chop the meat into bite-sized pieces.

Remember, this soup becomes more flavorful the next day, so be sure to make enough for leftovers.

2 Responses to “Beef, Leek and Barley Soup”

  1. Deirdre 22/10/2012 at 5:24 pm #

    Uhm, yeah…I’m making this tomorrow! It looks SO good, Brenda! Thanks!

    • Brenda 23/10/2012 at 9:27 am #

      Oh good! I’d love to hear how it turns out.

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