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BEEF BROTH AND BARLEY
beautiful bountiful bowlfuls
Hiya. I am very pleased with myself having perfected this recipe. Mushroom beef barley is a soup that is very near and dear to my heart and brain. It’s one of those soups that takes patience and time. I HIGHLY recommend making it the day before you plan on eating it. The flavors really need an overnight rest to realize their full potential. They have to get a good night’s sleep before their first (and last) day of school. Additionally, the meat needs time to relax. When souping with red meat, it tenses up for the first hour or so of cooking, and if you eat it at that point it’s rubbery. Give it the time to adjust to its new, wet environment and it will become tender and delightful.
I worked at Ditka’s in Robinson for three years. When I started working there, they had this thing where the front of house staff members could have one free cup of soup during their shift in addition to the staff meal. After the first year of my tenure there, they eliminated that rule. I ate so much stinkin’ soup at that place. I also learned to cook while working there. My partner at the time worked in the back of house, so not only did I have tons of soup while I was at work, but he would also bring soup home for me nearly every day. This is where I ate crab bisque for the first time and my recipe was created to taste exactly like I remember it tasting there. The crowning jewel of the soups in rotation at Ditka’s was mushroom beef barley. They would use the left-over bits of prime rib every week and I would steal as much as I could. Crouched over in the walk-in, sitting on top of a bucket of pickles, shoveling soup into my mouth. It was a good look. This recipe, like my crab bisque recipe, has been developed over the years to recreate the soups of Da Coach’s place and take me right back to that walk-in cooler.
3 lbs. beef marrow bones/knuckles
2 onions, halved
1 head of garlic, halved laterally
2 carrots, quartered
1 celery root end, and tips
1 lbs. of mushrooms, stems only
1 poultry herbs bundle (thyme, rosemary, sage)
8 quarts cold water
This is a universal beef broth recipe for any beef broth application. Preheat your oven to 400° F. Arrange soup bones, onion, carrot, garlic and half the thyme on a sheet tray. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes, flipping the bones halfway through. Place the celery, mushroom stems, herbs, and pepper in a stock pot then add the roasted ingredients on top, including any liquid fat that has been released from the bones. Add cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium/low and simmer on low for 2-6 hours. Strain through a mesh strainer. Broth can be made up to 3 days in advance.
BEEF BARLEY SOUP
2 lbs. cremini mushrooms, torn
3 lbs. top round or chuck roast
2 onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, diced
1/2 cup dry red wine
8 carrots, sliced into coins
1 bunch of celery ribs sliced into 1-inch pieces
4 qt. beef broth
10 oz. pearly barley
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Handful of parsley, chives, cilantro, or scallions
Season roast generously with salt and pepper, place in the refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours. Take the roast out of the refrigerator one hour prior to beginning the soup to allow it to come to room temperature, this will help with browning. In a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and brown mushrooms in two batches. Season mushrooms with salt. On medium high heat, brown the roast on each side for several minutes allowing it develop a crust. Remove the roast, let it rest until it is cool enough to touch, then cut it into 2-inch pieces. Turn the heat down to medium low and add onions and garlic. Sautee onions until they start to become translucent, use a wooden spoon to scrape any bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the wine and continue to scrape the bottom of the pot. Allow wine and onions to cook down until the wine is nearly fully absorbed and the onions start to become jammy. Add carrots and celery and coat with the onion mixture. Sautee until the carrots and celery just start to soften. Add mushrooms and beef back into the pot. Add the beef broth, and stir everything together. You might not use all 4 quarts of broth; this is a matter of taste and how brothy you want the finished product to be. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium/low and simmer for one hour or until the carrots and celery are tender. Add the vinegar. Turn off the heat and place the lid on the Dutch oven and let it sit on the stove for an hour to cool. At this point, you should put the soup in the refrigerator and finish it the next day. However, if you don’t have time to wait that’s okay just move onto the next step. Reheat the soup over low heat on the stovetop. Meanwhile, bring a separate pot of salted water to a boil and add the barley. Simmer at a low boil with the lid on until the barley until it is perfectly tender, 30-40 minutes. Drain barley or use a slotted spoon to transfer it into the soup. Taste the soup and add any salt if needed. Add herbs to finish. It’s done. Eat it. It’s great. It’s delicious. Good job!
For the beef broth, I used a 12 quart stock pot and yielded about 6 quarts of broth. For the soup, I used a 6.75 Dutch oven and yielded 6 ½ quarts of soup, or 8-12 servings. The broth and soup will keep in the refrigerator for one week and freezer for 3 months. Both freeze well. Both are also great to share with your friends and neighbors.
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