Beef, Barley and Vegetable Soup
A delicious, hearty soup for a cool winter’s night. The barley becomes plump and rich, adding great texture. You can add just about any vegetables you like. Truffle oil enhances the natural flavors of the ingredients and adds a rich, sophisticated touch to an otherwise ordinary soup.
3 lbs beef riblets, short ribs or beef stew meat
1 tbl vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup sliced carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery with leaves
3 cloves garlic, mashed
5 cups chicken or beef stock or water
1 16 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup medium pearl barley
2 cups frozen vegetables, such as corn, lima beans, green peas, green beans
1/2 cup fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 cup fresh spinach leaves, washed and roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Truffle oil (optional)
Season beef with salt and pepper. Heat oil in dutch oven and brown beef well. Remove beef and drain all fat except 1 tbl. Add onion, garlic, carrot, and celery. Cook for two minutes. Add bay leaf, beef, stock, tomatoes and thyme leaves. Simmer, covered, for 1 hour.
Skim fat from surface of soup. Add barley and simmer, covered, for about 45 minutes. Add frozen vegetables, mushrooms and spinach; simmer for another 30 minutes or until barley and vegetables are tender. Check seasonings and drizzle a scant 1/8 tsp truffle oil before serving, if desired. Makes 6 servings.