Friday, January 30, 2009

A Meal from the Pantry ...

And by that I mean that most of the ingredients for today's recipe were already residing in my home. I simply had to pick up a bit of beef and a bunch of mushrooms and start cooking. I guess it goes without saying that one of our premier, national eating holidays occurs this weekend: Super Bowl Sunday. If you were expecting to find a bunch of yummy, game-friendly snacks here this week, I'm sorry to disappoint. Maybe next year if I can muster up any interest in either of the teams. (Sorry Phoenix and Pittsburgh peeps, I'm a Cowboy fan!)

Its long been my custom, at least during the winter, to whip up a batch of hearty soup on Sunday afternoons for us to enjoy all week. And I make plenty of it. We'll generally have the soup for dinner twice during the week, rounded out with salad and bread, and any left-overs make a mighty fine lunch. Last Sunday was no exception. I put that yummy College Inn Bold Sirloin Stock to good use and we've been happily dining on Beef Barley soup ever since.

Beef Barley Soup:
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound of lean beef sirloin, cut into small cubes
  • some Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • one 10 oz. package of Crimini mushrooms, sliced, stems removed*
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 large stalk of celery, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups of low-sodium beef broth
  • 3 cups of College in Bold Stock - Sirloin flavor
  • one 14.5 oz can of Petite Diced Tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of raw pearl barley, rinsed and drained
  • the leaves from 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • a handful of chopped fresh parsley
  • Some additional chopped fresh parsley and thyme for garnish
Heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a large soup or stock pot over medium high heat. Add the cubes of beef and dust them with a bit of salt and pepper. Saute, stirring as needed, until the meat has browned on all sides. Drain the meat and reserve in a small bowl.

Pour any residual fat from the pot and return the pot to the stove. Drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil into the pan and add the mushrooms. Saute them over medium-high heat until browned, then add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Saute for approximately 5 minutes, stirring as needed, until the onion begins to wilt. Add the fresh thyme leaves, stirring to combine and saute for one minute. Then add the vegetable broth, beef broth and beef stock to the pan, along with the diced tomatoes and their juices, and a hand full of chopped fresh parsley. Stir to combine and bring the soup to the boil. Add the pearl barley and the reserved cubes of beef. Allow the soup to boil again, then turn the heat to low, cover and simmer the soup on low for approximately 40 to 45 minutes, or until the barley has cooked.

Serve the soup garnished with some additional fresh parsley and thyme. Do not skip the fresh thyme at the end - its essential! As written, this recipe will serve 6 - 8 depending on serving size. Enjoy!
* Crimini mushrooms are also known as Baby Bella mushrooms, and I prefer them for their rich flavor. You could certainly use regular white button mushrooms, or leave them out altogether if that is your preference.

The three different types of broth may seem like over-kill, but really I think that's what makes this soup so special. They all add something different to the mix in terms of flavor and that Bold Stock can't be beat for adding richness. It should be noted that the Bold Stock is a bit high in sodium, so if that is a concern for you, opt for the standard low-sodium beef stock and use 5 cups of that instead.

Only after I'd written this post (earlier in the week) did I discover that I haven't invented "souper Sunday" ... in fact, there's an entire blog which devotes every Sunday to the best soups from around the web. Deb in Hawaii from Kahakai Kitchen has been hosting Souper Sundays for quite awhile now and I was delighted to hear about it. I will be a frequent visitor to Kahakai Kitchen's weekly soup round-up and I must say that last week's offerings looked spectacular. Be sure and check out her yummy blog.

So, how will you be celebrating Super Sunday? Hungry Diva wants to know.

Bon appetite!


Anonymous said...

Gosh. It would be commendable to say that we're eating soup and other healthy delights...

But we'll be eating wings, nachos, pizza, burgers and downing it with beer!

Dang that Super Bowl.

Tracy said...

This soup sounds great, Diva. I'll be making chili and Buffalo wings with blue cheese dip for the Super Bowl. To make the chili a bit more healthy, I use a 50/50 mix of extra-lean ground beef and ground pork and put in lots of veggies and beans. The wings are baked in the oven on a rack so the fat drips away and I serve them with carrot and celery sticks. The blue cheese dip... well, it is what it is :)

The Blonde Duck said...

I love this soup! I'm printing it out.

The Diva on a Diet said...

Duo - it only happens once a year ... live it up and have one for me! :)

Tracy - I think chili is the perfect Super Bowl dish and you can't go wrong with the wings either. I'm not hosting this year so no real cooking for me. I do plan to eat though. LOL

Blonde Duck - thanks, I hope you love it as much as we did! :)

Juliet said...

I'm celebrating the superbowl by going to the gym (my work-it-circuit-class). :) Not a big football fan. I am also thinking about having soup tonight for dinner (thanks!).

Debinhawaii said...

Beef and barley is a great combo. The sirloin broth sounds rich too. You have a very well stocked pantry! Welcome to Souper Sundays! The round up is now posted.



Deb said...

No super parties for us this year - even if it is in my city! We will be dining in and munching on popcorn and beachy snacks if at all. We did a super healthy early dinner and really have no interest in the big game since our Buccaneers aren't there this year.

Happy game day to all!


The Diva on a Diet said...

Juliet - you're a better man than I! You can't go wrong with soup for dinner ... if you're a fan, be sure and check out the Souper Sundays event to which I linked. Great stuff there.

DebinHawaii - thanks so much for including my soups in your post this week. I'm honored to be in such fine company and I thank you for all your hard working in putting this together every week. You rock! :)

Deb - I really didn't care about the teams this year either, but I do enjoy watching sports with my family. I'm a huge popcorn fan, so I'm down with your snacking yesterday, game or not! ;)