My favourite season is autumn when the leaves change colours, the air is brisk, and there’s still a chance for a bright sunny day with cool evenings. Apples, pumpkins, and spice dominate baking and coffees, soups, and stews welcome warm additions to our meals. On my morning walks, the leaves crunch and swirl about, the squirrels are busy hiding acorns, and there’s an urgency to walk faster to get back home where there’s a pot of soup waiting to be made. This Beef and Barley soup is one of our favourites and goes together quickly. This beef and barley soup can be made with ground beef or leftover sliced beef from Sunday’s roast. My hubby prefers it with the ground beef.
Meaty Beef Barley Soup
- 2 cups yellow onion - minced
- 1 cup carrots - peeled and chopped
- 1 cup celery - chopped fine
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef (minced beef) - sirloin
- 2 cloves garlic - finely minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 quarts beef stock (beef broth or beef bouillon)
- 1 pound button mushrooms - sliced thinly and chopped
- 1 large bay leaf (bay leaves)
- 2 sprigs parsley - chopped for garnish
- Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a large stockpot and add onions, celery, and carrots. Stir together and cook vegetables to make a mirepoix.
- Mirepoix uses a very gentle slow cooking process using oil or butter to bring out the best flavours of the vegetables without sautéing. The object is to slowly cook the onions, carrots and celery to sweeten rather than caramelize or brown. Traditionally, the mixture is 2 parts onion, 1 part celery, and 1 part carrot. If I have extra time and feel like a little extra chopping, I usually double or triple the batch when making a mirepoix to start a recipe. Then I can make two or more kinds of soup or stew or freeze the extras in small quantities to make a quick pot of soup later. It is far more efficient to make a large batch and freeze it in small amounts to make the smaller soup quickly.
- Continue to sweat for 7 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender and translucent. Remove mirepoix from the pan reserving oil in the pan.
- In the same stockpot, brown the ground beef over medium-high heat. Just before the meat is browned, add the minced garlic and continue browning for another 2 to 3 minutes.
- Drain most of the oil from sauteing the meat. Then, season with salt and pepper and add chopped mushrooms stirring to combine.
- Add reserved mirepoix, beef stock and bay leaf, bring to boil, cover, turn the heat down and simmer for 30 minutes. Depending on how thin you prefer your soup, you can add more or less beef stock.
- Once mushrooms are thoroughly cooked for about 10 to 15 minutes, add barley and continue simmering for about 30 minutes or till barley is tender.
- Remove bay leaf and serve. Serve with some crusty bread and a salad.