This rich and hearty soup is packed with nutrition. It is quick and easy to put together. It can be one of those recipes that utilizes leftovers (cooked ahead ingredients: barley/quinoa left from a former side dish). Then too, this soup offers the opportunity for hand-off cooking; after the meat is browned, it and the other ingredients can be tossed into a slow cooker where the cooking done for you while you work at other things. On a day when you have the time and feel the “homey” need to take the extra steps in cooking the barley and quinoa separately, you can take that luxury. Note that adding them during the last few minutes of cooking and serving keeps them at exactly the right texture (and gives you something to do while you’re heating the garlic bread.)
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 lb. beef chuck (after silver skin and excess fat have been removed) cut stew meat style
- Freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt
- 1 c. chopped onion, medium chop
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 c. chopped scallions, white and tender green
- 3 c. (1/2-inch) sliced carrots (6 carrots)
- 1 cup (1/2-inch) sliced celery (2 stalks)
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme)
- 2 bay leaves
- 10 c. beef broth, heated
- 1/2 c. pearled barley
- 1 c. quinoa
- Heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- Add the beef, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes until browned all over. Remove the browned meat with a slotted spoon and set aside… if using a slow cooker, remove to the slow cooker.
- Add the onion, garlic, scallions, carrots, and celery to the fat in the pot, reduce the heat and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, until the vegetables begin browning… if using a slow cooker, remove to the slow cooker.
- *If not using a slow cooker
- Add thyme sprigs to the pot along with the bay leaves.(* Return the meat to the pot) and add the hot broth, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Raise the heat and bring to a boil… if using a slow cooker, use HIGH HEAT setting to bring the slow cooker to a boil.
- Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour … if using a slow cooker, turn heat selection to LOW HEAT and allow the slow cooker to do its work as you alone know how your cooker works. It may take an hour, or it may take two.
- Par cook barley added to 3 cups of boiling water then simmered uncovered for 30 minutes, drain, and set aside
- When the soup is done (meat is fork-tender), skim off excess fat, add the barley and quinoa and cook the soup for another 20-25 minutes or until the barley and quinoa are tender. Check and adjust the salt and pepper seasonings.
- Serve with Crunchy Garlic Bread and a good, strong bodied red wine.
My choice of wine is a Chilean Malbec or Old Vine Zinfandel
Cook-Ahead Directions for Barley &Quinoa: Cook according to package directions