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Beef Barley Soup

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   Beef Barley Soup                                         Makes about 12 cups (3 L)

   It has become a Halloween tradition in our family to have Beef
   Barley Soup before the kids go trick-or-treating. They are always
   excited and so busy getting ready that sitting down to eat would be
   next to impossible. I make the soup early in the day so I have my hands
   free for last-minute make-up and costume adjustments. Some sliced
   bread and a cheese plate are all you need to complete this meal.

   1½ pounds (750 grams) lean ground beef
   1 large onion, diced
   3 or 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
   4 stalks celery, peeled and chopped
   1 red or green pepper, chopped
   2 cloves garlic, mashed
   1 – 28-ounce (796 mL) can whole or diced tomatoes
   6 cups (1.5 L) beef broth
   1 teaspoon (5 mL) dried oregano
   1 teaspoon (5 mL) dried basil
   ½ teaspoon (2 mL) freshly ground pepper
   1 or 2 teaspoons (5 to 10 mL) salt
   ⅓ cup (75 mL) pearl barley

   In a large heavy pot cook the beef over medium
   heat, breaking it up with a spoon, until no longer
   pink. Add the onions, carrots, celery and red or        My handheld blender
   green pepper. Cook 5 to 7 minutes more, until
   vegetables are soft. Add the mashed garlic and
                                                           is one of my favourite
   cook 1 minute more. You can add diced tomatoes          kitchen tools: I use it for
   to the pot right out of the can but whole tomatoes
   should be puréed first with a handheld blender.         many things including
   Add the tomatoes, broth, oregano, basil, pepper,
   salt and barley to the soup. Bring to a boil and turn   puréeing tomatoes right
   down to simmer. Cook the soup until the barley is
   tender, 30 or 40 minutes. Taste for seasoning and       in the tin.
   add more salt if necessary. If you like a thinner
   soup, add some more broth.

				
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