So its official I am sick... so sick in fact that I had to go home from work today. But since dinner wasn't going to cook itself (wow I am turning into a mother!) I decided to get this heating on the stove so that I could get in a quick nap before everyone else got home for the day. The best thing about making soups is that a little work and a lot of time is all that is needed. I wasn't sure if I should use my large stock pot or my medium size one - I decided on the smaller one but it would have been nice to have a little extra room so I didn't have to really mess with it. This is "soup" is really more of a stew (at least this version of it) I was planning on making some dropped biscuits as well but between the coughing fits and the rich creamy texture I decided to skip them.
Like a lot of the things that I make this is far from a traditional beef & barley cause I couldn't resist adding just about one of every vegetable I had sitting in the fridge (the fact that I was going away the next day also helped that decision along..... most of my meals are based on my travel schedule it seems). But you of course are free to add or omit anything you don't like.
Beef & Barley "soup"
4 cans low sodium beef broth
2 c pearled barley - rinsed
1.5 lb stew beef - cut into bite size chunks (about 3/4" cubes raw)
1/2 bell pepper - diced
1 onion - diced
2 stalks of celery- diced
2 carrots - in 1/8" coins
1 zucchini - in 1/8" coins cut in half
10 mushrooms - sliced
1 tbsp oil
salt & pepper
1) in a large hot pan - brown meat over med/high heat
2) after 3 min stir to flip sides
3) once brown through out remove from pan and set aside
4) add oil to pan (not needed if there are a lot of juices)
5) add carrots, onions, celery and peppers - saute until soft
6) add meat back into pan and add 3-4 cans of broth (until all meat & veg are covered) and barley
7) bring to a simmer and then lower heat to med/low and let cook (covered) for 3-4 hours stirring occasionally
8) about 30 min before serving add mushrooms and zucchini - stir to combine and recover and heat through
FYI - you made need to add more broth or just some water during the cooking as this gets thick fast!