Try to use hulled barley for this soup--it's a less refined form of the grain that provides more fiber and iron than pearled barley, which will also work nicely. Beef stew meat also contributes iron, plus selenium. The mushrooms supply vitamin D and are a prime source of ergothioneine, an antioxidant that may help prevent cell damage and reduce the risk of cancer.
12 ounces lean beef stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
6 cups less-sodium beef broth, divided
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 thyme sprigs
1 cup uncooked barley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
How to Make It
Place the porcini mushrooms in a medium bowl; cover with boiling water. Cover and let stand 30 minutes or until tender. Drain mushrooms in a colander over a bowl, reserving liquid. Chop mushrooms; set aside.
Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add cremini mushrooms and chopped onion; sauté 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Spoon onion mixture into a medium bowl. Recoat pan with cooking spray. Add chopped carrot, celery, parsnip, and minced garlic; sauté 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Add carrot mixture to onion mixture in a bowl.
Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add beef; cook 3 minutes, browning on all sides. Add 1 cup broth to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add remaining 5 cups broth, chopped porcini, porcini liquid, onion mixture, 2 cups water, salt, pepper, and thyme. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 1 hour or until beef is just tender.
Discard thyme sprigs. Stir in barley; cover and cook 30 minutes or until barley is al dente. Uncover and cook an additional 15 minutes. Remove from heat; sprinkle with parsley.
The flavor was really delicious. The amount of barley was way too much, in my opinion, for the amount of liquid, and required more time than called for in the recipe. After 45 minutes of simmering with the barley, it still wasn't done, so allow plenty of time.
I made this soup last week and we loved it! My husband finished the last bowl yesterday and he said, "Don't wait too long to make this again." I used pearled barley straight from the bag which helped offset the pricey dried porcinis. I had some of the porcinis leftover and they have been soaked in the boiling water and are going on tonight's pizza. This is a very good, healthy, earthy soup...a cornbread biscuit is just the right taste and texture with it.
I made this tonight using my pressure cooker as a quick dinner. 10 minutes on high pressure with the beef and vegetables, then 15 minutes high pressure with the barley added. It was outstanding. I didn't have a parsnip so I left that out and it wasn't even missed (and I love parsnips!). I did run the dried porcini through the spice grinder to pulverize them and just mixed them into the beef broth during cooking to save the 30 minutes soaking time. Lots of flavor with less time.
Very hearty and flavorful. Rich mushroom and beef flavors. Added about 1-2 tsp sherry vinegar at the end. Used leek instead of onion, since I had one on hand. And used beef from a previously cooked roast, which I added at the end of cooking.
This soup is outstanding. By far the best soup I have ever made. Followed directions minus the dried mushrooms. Just skipped that step, I also added roasted corn, just cause I had it. This is my second time making this and it turned out perfect both times. No prep for the barley, just tossed it in. try it!
We LOVED this so much that out of a family of 4 (all girls) there were NO left overs!!!!
Side note, couldn't find the dried porcini mushrooms, so I omitted that step, and I added extra barley - but this was so good my mom even liked it. Even better was my 16 month old eating an ENTIRE cup by herself. I've never seen her ask for more please without there being a cookie in sight.
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