Foodie Friday -- Beef and Barley Soup

Crockpot soup!  I love a good crockpot soup, don't you?

The original recipe was from the 1950's or 60's. It's old. My mom had typed it on a card, then I typed it on a card in the 1980's. It called for beef shank or neck. . . I don't know about you, but the three grocery stores that I shopped at didn't have beef shank or neck. Years ago, Walmart had beef tongue, but that's another story.

Most modern stores in the US won't carry the 'remnants' from animals. If you can find a cheaper cut of beef, more power to you! The how to cook will be in the Tips and Tricks.

I also couldn't find barley. What is this world coming to??  By the time I got to store #3, Reasor's, a local grocery chain, I found a wonderful selection of grains . . . but no barley. Every other kind of seed and grain imaginable, but no barley. What to do? I spent 5 minutes trying to remember the size of the pearl barley we used for this recipe. I found spelt. Yes, spelt. It's a German wheat grain. After cooking for eight hours, it still had a bit of a chew to the texture. I enjoyed it, my hubby didn't.

Beef and Barley Soup

1 1/2 bottom roast, bite-sized cubes
2 carrots, diced
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
3/4-1 cup barley (spelt)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. savory
4 cups beef broth

2 Tbls. cornstarch, for thickening

Combine all ingredients, EXCEPT cornstarch, in crockpot. Cook on low for 8 hours, or until beef and barley are tender.

To thicken, place cornstarch into small bowl, add a few spoonfuls of broth to cornstarch and stir to make a slurry, stir into soup. Repeat if needed to thicken to desired level.

Taste for seasoning. Enjoy!

Tips & Tricks:
  • For beef shank or neck: Take three pounds of beef (because there will be bone, etc. and you need more meat), dredge in flour, place in hot pan with 4Tbls oil, brown on all sides. THEN cook it like the recipe states, before serving it, remove the meat from the bones and put it back into the crockpot. 
  • If unsure how salty the beef broth is, then use only half of the salt stated in the recipe and adjust after it cooks.
  • If using dried parsley vs fresh, then use about 1-2 Tbls.
  • I turned the crockpot on high for the last hour to cook the spelt a little more
  • I used Better than Bouillon beef base. I find it to be less salty than regular broth
  • I didn't need to adjust any seasonings. It turned out really good.
  • Reheats well. The beef became really tender after it sat for a day or two in the fridge

Maze of Monster Mix-Ups is still available for free today.
Tomorrow will be a different book, but I can't remember which one! 

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