Remember how excited I was to make my Grandma’s Junk a few weeks ago? Not only was the junk delicious, but it also piqued my interest in barley as a superfood and got me thinking about other ways to use this incredibly nutritious grain.
Enter beef and barley soup. This was simple to make, again a one-pot dish, and was so incredibly filling with all the vegetables and barley that it could easily be dinner all on its own.
The recipe is pretty basic: sweat the vegetables (onion, celery, carrot, mushroom) in a bit of olive oil. Add diced beef, then barley, broth and seasonings, and let simmer. But there’s a suprise ingredient that elevates this version over all others by adding tremendous depth of flavor: soy sauce. It may sound like a strange choice for a classic soup but you’ve got to trust me on this, it works.
Beef & Barley Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
4 ounces mushrooms, trimmed and diced
1 pound beef, cut into small bite-sized pieces
1 cup pearled barley
28 ounces low-sodium beef broth
2 to 3 cups water
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the vegetables and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 8 minutes.
Clear an opening in the center of the pot (push the vegetables to the sides) and add the beef. Sear for 1 minute, then stir in the barley and cook for an additional minute.
Pour in the beef broth and water and add the thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Increase the heat to high until the liquid just begins to boil, then decrease the heat and simmer uncovered until the barley is tender, about 1 hour. Turn off the heat and stir in the soy sauce; season to taste.