Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hearty Soup for Winter

For lunch yesterday I made a pot of my Winter Barley Soup. Almost wish it had been cold and snowy outside as would befit a soup like this. However, had you been here you might have thought it was April 10th rather than November 10th. This weather we're having in our neck of the woods is just plain crazy. The outside temperature at 9 p.m. last night was 50°. What is going on here? We could/should be having temperatures thirty degrees colder . . . or more . . . by now.

Well, Mother Nature is going to do just as she pleases whether we choose to adjust to her whims or not. I'll still pass this recipe on to you so you can make it sometime in December or January when it truly is a cold, blustery day and you need solid sustenance for your tummy.

I used to make this soup at the restaurant so it's stood the test of time and many palates.


5 cups homemade beef broth (You could use 3 cans of canned beef broth instead of the homemade broth if you don't have it. No problem. I won't send the Homemade-Only Police to your house. Promise.)

1/2 cup barley (Add another 1/4 to 1/2 cup if you want your soup more the consistency of a stew.)

5 whole peppercorns
1/4 cup butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup sliced carrots
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (About 1 tablespoon dried parsley if you don't have fresh.)

1 cup (or more) chopped cooked beef (Leftover pot roast is perfect.)

2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup wine (I prefer a good white, but nuthin' wrong with using red in this recipe.)

Bring broth to a simmer in soup pot. Add barley and peppercorns. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

In large skillet, saute onion and celery in butter for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and carrots and cook about 5 minutes more.

Add the veggie mixture, parsley and cooked meat to the broth after it has been simmering for the half hour. Cover and simmer 30 minutes more.

Open bottle of wine. Drink at least half of it to make sure it has a good flavor. Wouldn't want to chance ruining the soup at this point. ;o)

In a small bowl, stir wine into flour until smooth. Then stir into the soup. Cook, uncovered, about 15 minutes longer until soup thickens. Season with salt to taste. (Canned soup will be salty already so taste to check before adding more.)

This soup is just fine without the beef added because it's so hearty and flavorful the meat is hardly missed. Serve with cheese bread for the protein, and you'll be good to go.


Susan said...

I could have used this soup for breakfast this morning -- it was 24 degrees out! I actually do like soup for breakfast. Go figure. I am going to start a Mama Pea cookbook with all these wonderful recipes. You can take the girl out of the restaurant, but not the restaurant out of the girl, eh?

Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

Check and make sure it is ok, huh. Well I have some wine that has just been sitting in the cabinet. I better go drink half the bottle just to make sure it is still ok. With the weekend coming I may need to check another bottle too. Thanks for reminding me. I would hate for it to go bad.

LindaCO said...


Unknown said...

I think you had a great idea on making sure the wine was good enough to drink!!


Erin said...

mmmmm, that looks so good right now! I'm sitting here with a wool sweater on and wool socks and freezing! It's not that cold out but 50ยบ combined with gray damp skies and incredibly windy makes it cold in the house! Sprocket ate the weatherstripping from around the front door sweep, I can see daylight underneath... not good!

Karen L. said...

Wow, thanks so much for this recipe! I love any kind of barley soup and have copied this down to make soon. Love reading your blog. Never know when something tasty will turn up.

Sue said...

We hit 62 degrees today. Mid-November. Screwy! And this soup looks sooooo good. Will definately bookmark this. In case it EVER snows. Sigh.

The Apple Pie Gal said...

There is no such thing as a bad recipe when it includes wine! I'll have to wait for a nice cold day to try this one out (and I will along with your rye bread!). Gosh, now that sounds wonderful together!!!

Love to chat, but I need to go check my bottles now too. Lookin' for bad ones may take a while...


Mama Pea said...

Susan - When my hubby was still teaching he LOVED soup for breakfast. Now that he's home and doing more physical work, he kinda likes eggs and sausage or bacon and toast more.

I'm just glad I'm not the girl in the restaurant anymore!

Jane - Opened wine WILL go bad if it sits long enough. Quick! Go finish off those bottles NOW!

Linda - Could ya smell it??

Cindy - Hey, we girls have got to do what we girls have got to do! ;o)

Erin - Fifties and no sun and wind can feel like 30°! Either Sprocket was too warm or is lacking something in her diet.

Karen L. - You're very welcome. I, too, am really fond of barley. Thanks for the nice words.

Mama Pea said...

Sue - I listened to the weather on TV tonight and they are saying we're going to get some snow (only 1-2") this weekend. The temps gonna have to drop some for that to happen though.

APG - Yes, we must keep on top of our wine supplies! We're entering my sip-wine-while-making-dinner time of year. Wa-hoo!

Faye said...

Quote "Open bottle of wine. Drink at least half of it to make sure it has a good flavor. Wouldn't want to chance ruining the soup at this point"

M-Pea you may just make a cook out of me yet lol. (I still refer to the stove as the big square thing in the kitchen) :-)

But here's the question - any recipes that require beer?! (I'm more familiar with beer quality control, lol)


Mama Pea said...

Faye - So you can't cook. Big deal. You certainly have other creative talents! How many people can blow glass?

Recipes with beer in them? The only one I can think of is a Beer Brew Fondue that I haven't made since fondue was the "in" thing. But doesn't a nice cold beer go with just about anything? By jove, I believe it does!

Jenyfer Matthews said...

I don't think you'll truly find inner peace til you FINISH THE WINE!


I love barley. Do you use pearled barley or "whole" barley? Pearled barley is easier to find but not as nutritionally sound. However, finding barley of any sort in Egypt is a challenge.

Erin said...

Since we started homebrewing, every recipe needs beer in my opinion! It definitely belongs in chili! I also will use a bit in hamburgers on the grill, and have been known to put some good stout into a marinade. Also beer in any kind of fish fry batter is delish! I've even had a bread with a dark ale in it which was incredible, although I've never made it myself.

The Apple Pie Gal said...

Mmmm, beer. Now you guys are talkin'! I put beer in my Corned Beef and Cabbage...yum!!

Mama Pea said...

Jen - I DO love the way you think, Girl!

I always use the regular, ol', unadulterated barley. Don't really know how pearled barley would work.

Erin and APG - Well, WHO KNEW?! I can see there is a whole important part of cooking that I've been missing!

Leigh said...

Gosh. This looks so good. Now I'm motivated to can some beef broth. I love barley too.

Dirt Lover said...

Oh, I just love barley! It's getting that time of year to start making good hearty soups. One of the greatest things to have with them is beer bread. I also like a barley/brown rice salad/casserole. No beer or wine in that one, though. You have to have it on the side.

Mama Pea said...

Leigh - Confession: I buy "soup bones" from a farmer friend of ours. They have a nice little bunch of beef meat still attached to the bones. (They look like little pot roasts!) I brown them on both sides, add salt and pepper and onions, water and simmer them for a long time (whole day at least) until the meat falls off the bones. That way we get all the beneficial stuff in the bones, marrow, etc. in the broth. I cut off the meat and save for soups, stews, etc. Strain the broth and freeze for making soups or gravies or whatever.

Lori - I love the fresh foods of summer but, oh, cooking and eating hearty meals in the winter so appeals to me! Yay for barley in our house, too.

Erin said...

Were you reading my mind? We finally polished off the last of the beef share from the farm... all except several huge bags of soup bones! Thanks, and I will be doing that this week and making some freezer soups!

Mama Pea said...

Erin - Well, ya know what they say about great minds . . . (Tee-hee!)