Some soups you can rush – Beef Wild Mushroom and Barley isn’t one of them.
I wasn’t going to decorate the house this Christmas. We’re all going to Calgary. I thought, ‘what’s the point’? I’m usually trimmed shortly after Remembrance Day. As the days crept by, the urge to pull the Christmas decorations up from the basement got harder to ignore. When my book-club girls suggested we do a pot-luck gathering this year, I snapped up the opportunity to host. It was just the push I needed to get me out of the ‘sans kids’ funk I was in. Imagine me five years ago, had the girls decided to go elsewhere for Christmas. I would have lost my mind! The universe’s sense of timing is impeccable.
My Beef, Wild Mushroom and Barley Soup simmered away while I decked the halls. Only make it if you’ve lots of time. Trying to rush through this recipe will leave you with something insipid rather than a rich and hearty soup. I used left-over prime rib roast because I had it on hand, but it’s not necessary. The most humble of cuts will work and be delicious because of how long the soup cooks. Use your favourite mushrooms. I find wild mushrooms more interesting, but white button mushrooms will work. Make a batch for the freezer to have on hand when unexpected company drops by or when you feel like a bowl of comfort food.
The season is upon us. Cocktail parties, open-houses, brunches and dinner parties await. I’m excited to see what new foods await and what cherished traditions will be reinvented. XO
BEEF WILD MUSHROOM AND BARLEY SOUP
1 pound stew beef
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2½ teaspoons sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large red onion, chopped (2 cups)
4 carrots, cut into ¼ -inch dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large branch fresh rosemary
½ pound fresh wild mushrooms mixed, trimmed and coarsely chopped
8 cups cold water
½ cup pearl barley
- Place a large soup pot over medium-high heat.
- Add butter and olive oil.
- Season the stew beef generously with salt and pepper.
- Sear the meat on all sides until well browned; this will take about 15 minutes. Cook the meat in batches so that you don’t over crowd the pot. As the meat finishes remove to a bowl.
- Lower the heat to medium-low, add the onion to the pan and saute until it starts to caramelize, about 15 minutes.
- Add the carrots and garlic and saute another 5 minutes.
- As the vegetables are cooking, cut the beef into a ½ inch dice.
- Once the vegetables are ready add the meat to the pan with the water.
- Bring to a boil, adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover, and cook for 1 ½ hours.
Add the mushrooms, rosemary and barley continue to simmer the soup, covered, for 45 minutes.
- When the soup is done, remove the rosemary twig [the needles will have fallen off]
Season the soup with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Serve in warm bowls.
THE LOVE: I left the rosemary whole, but in retrospect think it would be more pleasant chopped up. I was pulling whole rosemary needles out of my mouth…
Thanks for reading.