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Published January 22, 2013, 11:35 PM

Halgrimson: Beef Barley Soup a treat on cold day

Soup is about the only thing I want to eat when the weather is as cold as it’s been lately. I want something to warm both my body and spirit, and a steaming bowl of soup is always the answer.

By: Andrea Hunter Halgrimson, INFORUM

Soup is about the only thing I want to eat when the weather is as cold as it’s been lately. I want something to warm both my body and spirit, and a steaming bowl of soup is always the answer.

One of my favorites is Beef Barley Soup, a dish that offers opportunities for the imagination.

The recipe below is the one I usually use, but certainly other vegetables such as tomatoes, cabbage, potatoes or frozen mixed vegetables may also be added. A little garlic or several spoons of tomato paste are also welcome.

My mother never added cabbage to soups. I don’t know why, but I don’t do it either. And I don’t like big hunks of carrot in anything, so I carefully halve the carrot length wise, and with the flat side down, I cut it into strips and then into a small dice.

When I made this soup recently, I had some frozen stock leftover from the rullepølse we made during the holidays, so I used that for the broth. Otherwise I usually use canned beef stock. I find bouillon cubes too salty.

My gram taught me the joys of cooked marrow, so when I’m buying my soup bones, I try to find those with the most marrow. After I’ve taken the meat off of the cooked bones, I spread the marrow on a piece of warm toast. It’s a treat.

Beef Barley Soup

1½ pounds stew beef

2 to 3 tablespoons good olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

2 to 3 ribs celery, chopped

1 carton (8 ounces) mushrooms, washed and sliced

1 to 2 pounds soup bones

10 cups beef stock or water

1 bay leaf

½ cup chopped parsley

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

¾ cup barley

In a large, heavy pot, brown the beef cubes in some of the oil over high heat, stirring constantly. When meat is nicely browned, remove it to a bowl using a slotted spoon.

Add a little more oil to the pot, and sauté onion, carrot, celery and mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until onions are translucent. Return beef to pot.

Add soup bone, stock or water, bay leaf, parsley and salt and pepper, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until meat on the soup bones is done. Remove bones from the pot, and cut off the meat and return meat it to the pot. Add barley and bring soup to a simmer again, cover and cook for about an hour. Serves 8 to 10.

This column was written exclusively for The Forum.

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