Monday, January 6, 2014

Beef, Mushroom, and Barley Soup Recipe Warms Up A Cold Snap

I've been snowed in for two days, but I'm not complaining. That's because we have about everything we need -- a warm house, good books, internet access, and a well-stocked pantry, fridge and freezer.

As soon as the temperature started to plummet and the snow began to fall, I plotted what to make for dinner. I settled on soup, pulling dried mushrooms and barley out of the pantry, beef stew meat out of the freezer and baby bella mushrooms out of the refrigerator produce drawer. I also reached for my pressure cooker, which speeds soup-making considerably. If you don't have a pressure cooker, you can make this soup in a large pot. Simmer until the barley is done, the meat is tender and the flavors blend, probably an hour and a half or two hours.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

About 1 ounce dried mushrooms (such as a combination of porcini, shiitake, black and oyster mushrooms)
2 slices bacon, chopped
Canola or olive oil, if needed
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 ribs celery, chopped
8 ounces fresh baby bella mushrooms, chopped
8 ounces beef stew meat, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
6 cups reduced-sodium beef stock or broth
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2/3 cup barley
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped 1/2 inch thick
1 tablespoons tamari sauce or soy sauce

Place dried mushrooms in a strainer; rinse with lukewarm water. Transfer to a bowl and cover with 1 cup hot tap water. Let sit until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving soaking liquid. If necessary, strain liquid to remove any grit. Cut large mushrooms into bite-size pieces.

Place chopped bacon in a pressure cooker. Place over high heat. Cook, stirring as necessary, until bacon renders its fat. Remove bacon from fat. If necessary, add a teaspoon or so of  oil. Add onion and celery; cook over medium-high heat until they begin to soften. Add fresh mushrooms; cook until softened. Stir in stew meat; cook until it begins to brown.

Add beef stock, water, mushroom soaking liquid, softened dried mushrooms, thyme, pepper, barley and carrots. Put the lid on the cooker. Bring to high pressure over high heat. Reduce heat as necessary and cook at high pressure for 20 minutes. Remove from heat; let pressure reduce naturally for 10 minutes. Quickly reduce remaining pressure (use the valve if your cooker has one or run cold water over the closed cooker). Remove the lid and stir in tamari sauce.

1 comment:

  1. I've bookmarked this one to try soon- I love the addition of the dried porcinis and soy sauce, adding a punch of umami flavor!