Monday, January 17, 2011

Roasted Beef, Mushroom, and Barley Soup

My intention for this blog, aside from being a source of wonderful, home-cooked meals and simple recipes, is that it chronicle my daily comings and goings in the kitchen.  Hits AND misses.  Good meals that get a big thumbs up from the husband as well as meals that he says "That one wasn't my favorite."  I try to be as honest as I can and really let you know how a dish worked out for my family, with the hopes that you can take it, work on it, and improve it for your own. 
With that being said, today's dish was a success!  (Okay, so my husband wasn't a huge fan of the Spicy Black Bean Soup from a few days ago, but in all honesty, I knew he wouldn't be because he doesn't love cilantro, so that's his problem).  This really is another simple meal that can easily be prepared any night of the week.  The prep work could even be done ahead of time, really, because all it involves is cubing up some sirloin and halving some mushrooms....that's it!  Beef, barley, and mushrooms is a pretty classic combination of flavors, and this soup is pretty basic in that it doesn't mess around with that union too much.  The slight twist on this recipe is that the meat and mushrooms get roasted in the oven before coming together with the rest of the ingredients in the soup...genius!  The caramelized, crusty flavor the beef takes on after being in the oven for 30 minutes really makes the difference in this dish.  By the way, your house will smell pretty amazing while this is roasting, too -- nothing beats onions and beef in the oven, perfuming the entire house!  The recipe says that it makes enough for 4 servings, but I'm going to say it's more like 3.  The only liquid in it is one carton of chicken stock, so it basically comes out to 1 cup per serving, and that's not accounting for all the liquid the barley is going to absorb.  On a quick side note -- the recipe does call for quick-cooking barley, which I was unable to find at my grocery store.  So, I just used regular barley and things turned out just fine. 
I enjoyed this immensely, and I think you will, too, if you give it a shot.  Enjoy the deliciousness!

Roasted Beef, Mushroom, and Barley Soup
makes 3 servings
1 pound sirloin steak, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound mushrooms, halved
2 shallots, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup barley

Preheat oven to 425F.  On a rimmed baking sheet, toss together the steak, mushrooms, shallots and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Arrange in a single layer and roast until beef and mushrooms are browned, 30 minutes.  Transfer to a soup pot and add chicken broth and barley.  Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce and simmer until barley is soft, about 15 minutes.  Turn off the heat and cover the pot for 15 minutes (this allows the barley to soak up more of the liquid, soften, and swell).  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Adapted from Martha Stewart

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