White Bean & Barley Soup

Hello all– I’m up in San Francisco visiting kids this week and Larry stayed home this time to work with a house project going on. (thanks Larry!)  So I made up a big pot of soup with some of his favorite ingredients — beans, barley and Swiss chard (the last sign of life in our vegetable garden).  It should keep him happily fed for a few meals!

3 tab. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
5 cl*oves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 cups vegetable broth*
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 cup pearl barley
1 bunch of chard, stems discarded, chopped (about 3 cups)
15 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
garnish:  sour cream and/or grated parmesan (and a little green**)

Heat the oil in your soup pot and then throw in the chopped onion. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes, add the garlic, salt & pepper and cook a minute more.

Pour in the broth and tomatoes.  Bring the mixture to a boil and then add in the barely.  Lower to a simmer and cook 30 minutes, until the barely is tender.

Add the chopped chard and rinsed beans and cook 4 or 4 minutes more to warm it all up.  Stir in the parmesan an serve with a dash of sour cream or a sprinkle of parmesan on top (or both!).

*I used chicken broth because that’s what I had in the cupboard.
**I have marjoram growing like weeds in my side yard, so dropped a piece on top.

Beef Barley Soup

Hey there– Soup!!  Glorious soup!  It’s finally cooled down enough here to put on a big bubbling pot of soup (although I’m still waiting for a chilly night to make a fire in the fireplace).  This soup’s rich and hearty and with a spot of salad and a chunk of wheaty bread, it makes fine fall supper (with leftovers for lunches!).

2 tab. olive oil
1 pound beef chuck steak (or stew meat)*
salt & freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup flour
1 yellow onion, chopped fine
2 carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tab. tomato paste
1 tsp. dried basil
4 cups water
2  14 oz. cans beef broth
3/4 cup barley
2 tab. cornstarch (optional)

Salt & pepper the beef and cut it into smallish pieces.  Heat the olive oil in a soup pot.  Put the 1/4 cup flour in a plastic bag and add the meat.  Shake until the meat is coated and then drop it into the hot soup pot.  Cook until the beef’s browned all all sides.  Take it out of the pot and set aside.

In the same sop pot, drop in the onion and carrots (add a little more oil if the pan looks dry).  Cook for 5 minutes until the onion and carrots start to get tender.

Then add in the garlic, tomato paste and basil.  Stir it up.  Next pour in the water and beef broth and then return the meat to the pot.  Bring to a low simmer and cook 45 minutes until the beef is tender.

Add in the barely and simmer 45 minutes more until the barley is soft and yummy.

If you like your broth thicker (I do!), you can combine 1/2 cup water with 2 tablespoons cornstarch in a container with a tight fitting lid.  Shake it until it is thoroughly blended and stir it into the bubbling soup until it thickens– 2 or 3 minutes.  Enjoy!

*I used chuck steak because it was on sale at the market.  The recipe I worked from used stew meat & it may take a little longer to cook before the meat is tender.