Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hearty Beef with Wild Mushrooms and Barley Soup

A rich and hearty soup that is a meal in a bowl with beef so tender it melts in your mouth and will warm you to your toes on a cold winters day. Just plan to make this soup a day ahead and no need to fret, barley is one of the "good grains" and is low on the Glycemic Index and high in fiber. Relax, get cozy and enjoy a warm bowl full of goodness.
Hearty Beef with Wild Mushrooms and Barley Soup

4 lbs. boneless beef ribs
3 cups carrots, large dice
1 cup celery, large dice
1 cup onions, large dice
2 Tbsp. garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups white button mushrooms, sliced
1 cup dried wild mushrooms, rinsed well and rough chopped
(*Note: if dried wild mushrooms are unavailable substitute a mix of 2 cups combined sliced shiitake, cremini and portabello mushrooms or add an additional 2 cups of sliced white button mushrooms. If you are lucky enough to be able to use fresh wild mushrooms then pick your favorites and add them.)
8 cups reduced sodium beef stock
3/4 cup red wine
2 Tbsp. mushroom soy sauce or reduced sodium soy sauce
6 cups water
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 Tbsp. dried rosemary
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
1/2 cup dry sherry
1 cup pearled barley, raw
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

Prepare the boneless beef ribs or chuck steak by removing any visible fat and cutting into half inch cubes. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Lightly coat the bottom of a 6 or 8 quart stock pot with about 1 Tbsp. of olive oil on medium high heat. Brown the cubed beef in small batches and reserve with any liquid until all the beef is browned, adding olive oil as needed for each batch.

Saute the carrots, celery, onion and garlic in the same pot, adding an additional teaspoon of olive oil if necessary, until the vegetables begin to become tender, about 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Add the sliced mushrooms, dried mushrooms and all of the dried herbs. Season liberally with fresh cracked black pepper. Stir gently to combine and continue sauteing until the vegetables are tender.

Add back the browned beef cubes, beef stock, red wine, water, mushroom soy sauce and tomato paste and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat and cook gently for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 40 minutes add the dry sherry. Taste for seasoning and add more black pepper as needed and continue to simmer gently for 20 more minutes.

Add the barley and continue to cook gently for an additional 1 hour, stirring occasionally. When done, remove bay leaves and discard. When soup has cooled down enough to handle ladle into storage containers and refrigerate overnight. Before warming to serve, skim off any excess fat that has risen to the top and discard it. If the soup has thickened too much add water a little at a time to reach the desired consistency when heating to serve.

This soup freezes well and can be stored in an airtight freezer storage container for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Facts
Yields 6 quarts or 12 Servings
Each 2 cup Serving
Calories 306.9
Total Fat 7.8 g
Saturated Fat 2.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.3 g
Cholesterol 73.7 mg
Sodium 615.3 mg
Potassium 1,004.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 23.0 g
Dietary Fiber 5.0 g
Sugars 4.2 g
Protein 28.5
Each 2 cup serving = 1 1/2 carbohydrate exchanges, 4 protein exchanges, 1 vegetable exchange, 1 fat exchange.

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