Beef Barley-ish Soup

I pulled some stewing beef from the freezer this morning and got the total side-eye from my husband. I know what he was thinking–soup? In this weather? What can I say, the baby wanted soup! Plus, it was a great way to use up some of the ingredients sitting in the fridge, freezer, and pantry.

Ingredients:

1.5 lbs of stewing beef

1 onion chopped

6 cups of water

1.5 cups of grain (I used a barley, spelt, and rice blend from Trader Joe’s)

1 cup of frozen peas

1 cup of chopped carrots

dried thyme

garlic powder

salt/pepper

Instructions:

1. In a soup pot, add the beef, and brown slightly.

2. Add the onion, and saute the beef and onion mix over medium high heat, until the onions are soft. Add garlic powder and thyme to your taste.

3. Add the water, grains, peas, and carrots. Cook over medium high heat until boiling. Drop the temperature to medium low and simmer until the gain is cooked. Add additional water if necessary. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

I’d contend that this is the ideal summer soup. While seemingly wintery, with it heartiness, it is not labor intensive at all. Throw some stuff in a pot and let simmer. So easy. I think using my toaster oven gives off more heat in the kitchen. I’ve noticed my husband walking back and forth between his office and the kitchen several times already, so I guess he approves of the summer soup!

I was thinking as I made this, why do I use stock (when it’s handy)? This soup has a nice subtle flavored broth, combining the tastes of the beef, grains, and veggies. From a health-conscious perspective, it contains very little salt, just what I added at the end to bring together the flavor. Why use stock????? Flavor saturated broths bring back bad memories of my childhood, when my babysitter would make canned chicken noodle soup and serve it to us without diluting it with the requisite can of water. Yuck! Salty city (and I love salty).

I’ll close by saying, broaden your horizons; give soup in the summer a chance.

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