I kinda just threw this one together over the weekend and it turned out a success! Give it a try. Don't be intimidated by the length of this recipe. A lot of it is just tid bits of info. The soup is super easy to put together!
Beef, Mushroom & Barley Soup
1# ground beef
8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
1 cup barley*
2 large leeks, sliced
1 carrot, sliced or diced ;)
1 garlic clove, diced
4 cups beef broth
3 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup cooking sherry
10 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
* The night before you make the soup, place one cup of barley in a pot with one cup of cold water and 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar. Let it sit overnight until you are ready to use the next day. When you are ready to use it, drain the water and rinse off the barley. Doing this helps 'rid' the barley of Phytic acid. Phytic acid blocks mineral absorption in your intestinal tract...so, in laymen's terms, buy soaking before eating (minimum of 7 hours), you are now allowing your gut to absorb all the good vitmains and minerals. Click here for a better understanding of Soaking Grains!
Ok, now onto the soup!
1. Cook your ground beef in your dutch oven or whichever pot you use to make soups in. I used grassfeed beef so it required a tad of olive oil while I cooked it. Once finished, remove from pot.
2. Add in more olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter then add your leeks* to the pot to cook.
* A word on leeks! Because of the way they grow, leeks have a tendency to have dirt in them. So, slice them and throw them into a bowl of water to rinse the dirt out. Place them on a towel to dry a tad, then into the pot they go. I sliced the white ends of the leeks to about half way up the green end.
3. After the leeks have started to cook down - 10 minutes or so - add in your carrot, garlic and mushrooms. You will probably need to add more olive oil and butter - the mushrooms will soak it up quickly. Especially if you use fresh, versus canned, 'shrooms.
4. While your veggies cook down to a soften & translucent state, gather your peppercorns, bay leaf & thyme. I wrapped them up in some cheesecloth and tied with cooking twine so I could fish them all out when the soup was done. Fun side note, hubby didn't know it was in there and when he helped himself, he ladled the herb baggie into his soup. When I realized what he did, I had to interrupt his lunch to fish it out of his bowl - classic! He was mortified!!
5. After your veggies have cooked down, deglaze the pan with the cooking sherry and scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Then add in your beef & chicken broths and bring soup to a boil. Drop in your herb bag too!
6. Once soup comes to a boil, take it down to a simmer and let it simmer about 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, add in your rinsed barley and cook at a simmer another 20 minutes or so before serving.
Enjoy! It was so good I didn't have a chance to snap a photo :)