Barley is a great way to lower your cholesterol. This hearty soup is packed full of healthy goodness.
It is cold as the North Pole here in Montana this January. Last month we had temperatures dip into the negative 20’s. My house was -29 on the coldest day. Negative!
There is nothing I want more in the winter than a steaming hot bowl of hearty soup, a big slice of sourdough bread and a glass of red wine.
This beef, barley and mushroom soup is packed with antioxidant rich vegetables like mushrooms and kale or Swiss chard, grass fed lean beef and barley- the funny little grain that is chewy, full of fiber and so good.
Add this soup into your routine for dinner and the family will sing your praises. I make it with homemade vegetable stock, but any stock or broth you have on hand will be perfectly delicious.
The first step to any great soup is the fresh, but simple ingredients. I use chopped carrots, onions, kale, celery (you could absolutely use leeks), garlic and two types of mushrooms- little baby bellos and porcini.
Then I use local Montana grass fed beef. Buy the leanest beef you can find. There is plenty of butter and olive oil to coat everything with a decadent silkiness. You want a hearty soup, not greasy. As I’m getting older, I really want to keep an eye on my cholesterol levels so lean beef or ground turkey is a must.
Sauté up the vegetables in a bit of olive oil and then stir in a pat or two of butter. Add in thyme, salt, pepper, celery salt and Worcestershire. Add in the beef and cook until just browned- add in the dry barely- 1-2 cups and loads of rich vegetable stock. Any stock will do- your preference. I like to add in the barely before the liquid because it is coated with all the delicious flavors in the pot and toasts up beautiful to be extra nutty. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Chopping up these vegetables and creating bowl fulls of rich nutritious soup is so relaxing to me. There is something comforting about preparing a simple meal that you know is healthy, yet is it warm and filling for your family. Serve with a toasted sourdough bread, like the loaf I just brought back from Acme Bakeries in San Francisco and a Petite Syrah like a 2020 Pedroncelli .
This soup will keep for several days the fridge in an airtight container. Just add more water each day (or stock) to loosen it up- the little pearls of barley tends to soak up everything).