Thursday, June 16, 2011

Leftover Beef and Barley Soup

I've been remiss.  I've been neglecting my blog.  I've been grading papers.  I've been moving from a closet (as a teacher who traveled to a different room each period with a closet as home-base) to a real room...a real room in the corner of a basement with a leaky air-conditioner and no windows...but a real room none-the-less.  I've been attending graduation, and graduation parties.  I've been celebrating the end of the school year with a week long trip to the breathtaking mountains of Montana - with my husband, but without my kids.

And now I am back.  It is summer and I have eight glorious weeks before I go back to real life.  I have eight weeks to spend with my wonderful family (my husband is a teacher's that for luck?!), piddling around in the yard, tending to my make-shift garden of old kitty-litter containers filled with tomato, pepper and zucchini plants - and a trash can full of potato plants, and best of all...exploring with new recipes.  I'm reading a book right now - I'll share it with you when I'm finished - that is slowly (or quickly...depending, I guess, on your sense of time) changing the way I'm thinking about food, eating, health and nutrition.  I may need to change the title of the blog (I probably should anyway...before I started this I made WAY more sweets than I do now). 

I have some good summer-y recipes to share with you...but I'll get to those a little later this week.  Right now you have to have this recipe for Beef and Barley Soup.   I wanted to get this posted when I made it...back in May when the temperatures were still in the low sixties.  But, for whatever reason, I didn't.  So you get it now.  Crank up the air conditioner (or take a trip to the movies - the theaters are always freezing!), and get yourself in the mood for some soup.  Whenever we make a roast, I always buy one that I know is way to big for our family to eat - and then use the leftovers to make this soup.  As with most soups, it is really a "throw-together" sort of deal.  All values are approximate.  Adjust it to your taste, or what you have in your fridge.

Leftover Beef and Barley Soup

Carrots, diced (about 2 whole, peeled carrots; or about half of a small bag of baby carrots)
Onion, diced (1/2 - 1 medium onion)
Celery, diced (2-3 stalks)

** Saute these in olive oil with about 2 tsp. minced garlic, 1/2 tsp. dried thyme, 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, and 1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper.  Saute just until tender (or onions start to turn translucent).

Roast beef, cooked and diced (at least 7 ounces, but add as much as you like)
Barley, cooked according to packed directions (use 1 C. dry barley -- for better flavor cook in a stock/water mixture mixed with some dried onion flakes)
4 C. Beef stock
6 C. Water
tops of the celery stalks
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. rosemary
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. garlic
1/4. tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt.

** Simmer on low for 30 - 40 minutes.

1/2 bag frozen peas in the last 10 minutes of cooking.

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