Oooh Baby, Its Cold Outside ..........

…. and I’m breakin’ out the soup pot. Its the end of December and we’re finally getting the first blast of winter here in central Ohio. We usually have had cold weather and snow before now, but not this year. We had 4 to 6 inches of snow a few days ago and we’re due for a few more tomorrow. Next weeks lows may hit single digits.

I’m headed in the general direction of a Beef, Barley, Vegetable soup, depending on what’s in the freezer. Stick around. I’ll keep you posted!

OK, I found a chuck roast in the freezer. The game is afoot. The roast is currently being nuked into defrosted submission. It doesn’t have to be totally defrosted because it will be browned and simmered in the soup plus its a little easier to cut up if its still partially frozen. Its over 3 pounds and probably more than I would usually use for soup but its a dinner soup and people have been invited, so…..

I also located two half-bags of frozen vegetables. One bag is a “Sicilian” blend. It includes green beans, carrots, cauliflower, red peppers, yellow peppers and onions. Its a HUGE bag (4 lb when full) so one might be enough. If not, I also found a half bag of stir-fry veggies (broccoli, snap peas, carrots, water chestnuts, red peppers, baby cob corn and mushrooms). It all depends on how many veggies I need/want.

Beef, Barley, Vegetable Soup

Ingredients

  • Chuck Roast (almost any size over a couple of pounds will do)
  • Veggies (fresh or frozen, any mixture)
  • Barley (quick) or noodles if you prefer
  • Beef & Vegetable soup base or bouillon
  • Salt & Pepper for seasoning
  • Oil for browning Chuck Roast

Directions

I like to use large cubes of Chuck Roast because the pieces will shrink and I like to be able to find them without any trouble but, if you like it small, cut it small.
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Season the cubes with salt and pepper and brown the cubes in the same pot that the soup will cook in. That will leave all the flavor in the pot. Go easy on the salt. Most soup bases and bouillons contain quite a bit. Also, if necessary, brown the roast in batches. Remove one batch, brown another until its all browned. Once all the roast has been browned, return it all to the pot and add as much broth (home made, boxed, bouillon, whatever) as you would like or as much as the pot will hold being sure to leave room for vegetables and, if you’re using it, the barley. If you haven’t used Barley before, just know that it will expand and soak up quite a bit of liquid. After you have added the broth/bouillon, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer.
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Chuck can be a tough cut of meat but will become tender when cooked long enough and properly. The chuck/broth mixture should probably simmer at least 2 or 3 hours, longer if you have time. Obviously, here’s one place that bigger rather than smaller cubes might actually work against you but I have the time so…

While the cubed roast is simmering, taste the broth for flavor. If necessary, add bouillon, no more than 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time, until you get the desired taste. If you have it, add a tablespoon or two of vegetable bouillon. I think it brightens the flavor a bit. As you do add the bouillon, make sure it incorporates completely before tasting again. Also, prepare the barley according to package directions and set aside. Depending on how much soup you’re making, you will need to adjust the amount of barley you use but 2 cups of cooked barley is a good starting point. OR, if you want to thicken your soup a little, throw a handful or two of barley into the soup to cook a few minutes after you add the vegetables.

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After about 1 1/2 hours or 2, you can add the vegetables. Let the soup simmer for another 45 minutes to an hour and you should have yourself one fine, hearty soup. OR, if you want to use pasta, add it at about the same time and let it cook in the broth. I have used 2 or 3 different kinds at once. Serve with a salad and/or a good loaf of dinner and its dinner! If there’s more time left, let the soup continue to simmer on low. It won’t hurt a thing.

 

 

 

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