The recipe that I'm going to share with you today is one of my family's favorite winter meals. The ingredients are so simple that it might seem boring, but I promise you that this recipe is transcendent. This soup has such a wonderfully beefy flavor. And if you serve it alongside a slice of bread made from wheat you ground yourself? It's divine!
One of the main ingredients in this soup is barley, which is a great addition to your food storage. If the only barley you've ever had is the mushy stuff in canned vegetable beef soup, you're in for a treat! Barley has a mild nutty flavor and a pleasant chewiness. If you don't have any barley on hand or have some sort of weird aversion to it, I have also made this recipe using egg noodles. I just throw them to cook in with the soup about 15 minutes before the soup is done.
I have listed the food storage substitutions for the fresh ingredients below. If you use all food storage ingredients, especially canned beef, I have written revised directions. You don't need to brown the already cooked canned beef and you can allow the dehydrated vegetables to rehydrate in the soup while you cook it.
Beef and Barley Soup, adapted from a recipe published in Cooking Light magazine
2 lb beef stew meat, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (OR canned beef [home-canned or store-bought])
2 t. vegetable oil
2 c. chopped leek (OR 2 c. chopped onion OR about 1/2 c. dry onion)
2 c chopped carrot (OR about 1 c. dry carrots)
4 garlic cloves, minced (OR 2 t. freeze-dried garlic OR garlic powder)
6 c. water
1-1/2 t. salt (Omit salt if using beef bouillon. Reduce according to taste if you're not using reduced sodium broth.)
1 t. dried thyme
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
4 bay leaves
2-14 oz. cans less-sodium beef broth (OR beef bouillon prepared to yield 4 cups broth)
1 c. uncooked pearl barley
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add half of beef; cook 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining beef.
Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add leek, carrot, and garlic; saute 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Return beef to pan. Add water and next 5 ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour. Add barley; cook 30 minutes or until beef and barley are tender. Discard bay leaves and serve.
Food Storage Items Only Directions:
Omit browning beef and sauteing vegetables. Place liquid ingredients, an additional cup to 1-1/2 cup water, seasonings (omit salt), and vegetables in Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. Drain liquid from canned beef and cut beef into 1" chunks, if necessary. Add beef and barley to the soup. Cook 30 minutes or until barley is tender. Taste broth for salt and add additional salt if necessary. Discard bay leaves and serve.