Monday, January 11, 2010

From Me to You

I made up my own version of beef and barley last year just because i wanted to try barley - it's a grain, it's high in whole grain fiber, and it is an inexpensive way to stretch a meal because whole grains make you full. So i thought i would share my recipe with my readers since it is tasty and warm, and there is nothing like a savory stew in the winter!

Keep in mind, any measurements are approximate. If you are the kind of cook who follows a recipe to a T and never deviates, this may be frustrating for you!! I apologize in advance.

**beef - whatever kind you want, about 1/2 lb per serving. I like sirloin, cut into bite-size pcs., but have also used ground beef and made mini meatballs (think Italian Wedding Soup)
**beef broth, low sodium if possible, i prefer organic
**Better Than Bouillon Organic Beef Paste (near the broths, in a jar, in the grocery)
**Pearled Barley (this can be trickier to find, but your grocery store has it - just ask someone if you can't locate it)
**herbs if desired (sometimes i use sage, sometimes oregano or parsley, sometimes none)

  1. Okay, first thing, you want to prepare your beef - either make your meatballs or cut your meat - and lightly salt and pepper it (salt and pepper ground beef PRIOR to making meatballs). BE CAREFUL NOT TO OVER SALT. The BtB Paste is salty!!
  2. Cut carrots and celery into bite-sized pieces, but we are looking for hearty, so don't cut them too small.
  3. Cook beef in bottom of soup pot (i recently did this in my pressure cooker for the first time, and WOW! it was amazing and fast - so if you have a pressure cooker, the steps are the same but the times are MUCH shorter) until it is lightly browned on outside but not cooked through.
  4. Add BtB paste (about a tablespoon is good) and stir beef into it for just a moment, then add appropriate amount of water.
  5. Add broth (depending on how much soup you are making, you will want half total volume of liquid to come from prepackaged broth and half from water and BtB paste).
  6. Add vegetables and herbs, but NOT the barley.
  7. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cover. (sample broth at this point for salt/pepper/seasoning)
  8. Simmer about an hour, then add barley (1/2 cup goes a long way).
  9. Cook another 45 minutes or until barley is tender.
Enjoy, and stay warm!

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