Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Beef Barley Soup

Love this soup. It has good flavor and just tastes great. I do not make it in the crock pot though. I've had my concern about lead in crock pots for awhile now and just don't use them anymore. I do this recipe on the stove top with a dutch oven. I cook it for about 3-4 hours on medium low heat and keep an eye on the soup.

3 pounds boneless beef chuck stew meat , trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions , chopped
2 carrots , peeled and chopped
6 garlic cloves , minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
8 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 cup pearl barley
2 beef marrow bones
1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1. Pat beef dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown half of beef, about 8 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker and repeat with additional 2 teaspoons oil and remaining beef.
2. Add remaining oil, onions, and carrots to skillet and cook until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Cook garlic, thyme, and tomato paste until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in wine, using wooden spoon to scrape up browned bits. Transfer to slow cooker.
3. Add broth, tomatoes, barley, and bones to slow cooker. Cover and cook on low until meat is tender, 7 to 9 hours (or cook on high 4 to 5 hours). Skim fat from surface and discard bones. Stir in vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Serve.
Make Ahead: You can prepare the recipe through step 2 the night before the ingredients go into the slow cooker. Refrigerate the browned beef and the vegetable mixture in separate containers. In the morning, transfer the beef and vegetable mixture to the slow cooker and proceed with step 3. Cooking time will be on the high end of the ranges given.

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