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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Simply Soup

Simmering on the stove or served steaming hot in a bowl, I love soup! In the winter time, soup frequently appears on the menu. What I love about soup? I love the versatility of soup: You can take nearly any protein, any vegetable, any seasoning, any broth ... and when combined, results in the most delicious creation.

I am a firm believer in the healing powers of soup. There may be no medical studies supporting my theory ... but I know that whenever I feel like I have a cold or if I feel like I am getting sick, nothing is as good as a bowl of piping hot soup (especially my Mother's Chicken Rice Soup!)

The soup I made this week is my boys' favorite. It is Barley Vegetable Beef Stew (the title tells it all!). The good thing about this soup is that you can either use canned, fresh, or frozen vegetables, most of the ingredients can be found right in your pantry, and it is one of the simplest soups with the best flavor. I love to add corn, green beans, peas, and other vegetables to this recipe - pick your favorites. I have typed up the way I made the recipe this week. I hope you and your family will love it.

Barley Vegetable Beef Stew
Makes 8 servings at 203 calories per serving

1 1/2 to 2 pounds of beef stew meat or leftover beef roast
1 cup chopped celery (use the leaves too, as they really produce a wonderful flavor)
1 small onion, chopped
4-6 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
7 cups of beef broth (can substitute 7 cups of water with 4 beef bouillon cubes)
14 oz can of tomato sauce
1 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
3/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
salt to taste
2/3 cup uncooked pearl barley
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

In a large non-stick skillet, brown the beef with the onion and garlic. When cooked thru, add remaining vegetables and all seasonings and cook and stir until they start to get tender. Add broth, tomato sauce, and barley and simmer over medium heat for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The longer it simmers, the more tender the beef will be. Before serving, add the chopped, fresh parsley to the stew and stir well.

***I like to serve this meal with my Crusty French Bread and a garden salad.


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