Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Beef and Barley Soup and a Giveaway

It may be almost Thanksgiving, but it certainly doesn't feel like it here in Philly.  The weather has been warm this week, and today was even flip flop weather.  I know I'm headed back home tomorrow, though, and into the tundra - in MN it's well below freezing already.  We do have a lot of our food planned because of Thanksgiving, but if we need something extra to warm us up, I'll be making this soup.

It may not be a "Thanksgiving food," but beef and barley soup is a classic, hearty winter food.  There's something about it - maybe the beef, maybe the vegetables, maybe just the smell - that warms us from the inside out.  And it's pretty simple to make - I mean, sure, you CAN buy it in a can, but why do that when you can make it fresher and make your house smell warm and happy at the same time?

One of my favorite things to do is collect recipes from friends.  I am building quite the collection by now, what with family, high school and college friends, and grad school buddies.  This recipe is one of my new favorites, and it comes from Ashley, my friend and labmate whose wedding I will be in next fall.  Next time you need something to warm your soul, try this recipe!

Beef and Barley Soup
from Ashley

5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 small onions, chopped
plenty of chopped sage, thyme and any other fresh stew herbs that are available
6 carrots, peeled and chopped  (I used baby carrots)
6 turnips, peeled and chopped
2 lbs stew beef, cut into 1 inch chunks (I used ground beef)
4 cups beef stock, 4 cups water
4 tomatoes, boiled, peeled, seeded, and chopped  (I used cherry tomatoes)
2 cups barley
salt and pepper to taste
around 2 tsp Worchestershire sauce

In a large stock pot or dutch oven or stew pot, melt a few pats of butter and some olive oil over medium heat.
Add the garlic and onions, cook for about 5 minutes until they are translucent.
Add the chopped herbs and stir together.
Add the stew meat and allow to brown on all sides. Try not to overcrowd the pot.
This is where I like to add the Worchestershire, just for a little extra flavor.
Add the carrots and turnips, stire occasionally for another 5 minutes.
Add the stock and water and the tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
Allow to simmer for 1 to 1½ hours, add the barley and continue simmering until the barley is fully cooked.
Remove from heat, serve with crusty bread and butter.

The end result?  Delicious.

So, you may have noticed that the recipe calls for something unorthodox: Worcestershire sauce.  It may be difficult to pronounce, but it's amazing stuff.  Somehow, it makes meat taste more......meaty.  Everything tastes a little more savory with it - and I can't say enough about what it does for this soup.  I have to thank Lea and Perrins, who gave me a coupon for a free bottle for review.  Of course, my reviews are always my own opinion, and I love this sauce.  The sauce made the soup, that's for sure!

The kind folks at Lea and Perrins have also given me two more coupons to give away to readers.  If you would like to win, leave a comment saying "I want to win!"  I will pick winners at the end of the week.

Happy Thanksgiving to all - make sure to savor the time with loved ones!


  1. haha, yay!!! Happy Thanksgiving!!!

    Oh, and I WANNA WIN!!!


  2. I want to win! I want ashley to win too but I want me to win more!