With its meaty flavor, savory mushrooms and nutty barley, this hearty soup makes a satisfying simple meal all on its own or with your favorite salad or sandwich.
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 8 ounces lean top round, cut into cubes
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups beef broth or low-sodium beef broth
- 1 cup water
- 1 small carrot, peeled and sliced
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 leeks, white part only, sliced crosswise
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 medium portobello mushroom caps, sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1/2 cup pearl barley
- 1 cup diced canned tomatoes
In a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the beef and cook until the cubes have browned on all sides, about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste either while the meat is being browned or afterwards.
Add the beef broth and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and skim off any fat from the surface. Add the carrot, celery, leeks, onion, mushrooms, bay leaf and thyme. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add the barley and cook, uncovered, for 35 to 40 minutes, or until all the vegetables are barely tender and the barley is fully cooked but still firm. Add the tomatoes with their juice and cook for 1 minute. Discard the bay leaf and thyme. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the soup to a thermos and seal, or let it cool, then transfer to microwavable containers and refrigerate.
Adapted from Russell Cronkhite, a chef and cookbook author.
Tested by Marcia Kramer.
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