Beef and Barley Soup

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I have resolved to be better about winter this year. I have resolved to be better about winter this year because last year was such a f*$@ing disaster of a winter. I went into it briefly here, but to refresh, last year was a  f*$@ing disaster. You can’t really blame me though. Last January was the snowiest on record for New York City! So combine tons of snowy, bitingly cold days with a seriously stressful and sleep-deprivating job with a serious case of MAD (Missing Ashram Disorder), yeah, last winter was a f*$@ing disaster.

Buuuuuuut, I have resolved to be better this year. I have resolved to embrace the things about winter that I love, however small the list may be, and to try new, winter only activities, however ridiculous I look and feel doing them. It also helps that this has been one of the mildest winters on NYC’s record, a stark contrast to last year. And how can I be miserable when  the cold weather makes this adorable duo so incredibly cuddly?

And I am trying out new, delicious, perfect-for-dog-days-of-winter recipes. It’s right about this time that I am running out of all of my stand-by winter recipes and looking for something new. So this winter warmer soup from Eating Well really upped the ante on that gross stuff from the can. The pearl barley combined with a stewing cut of beef is a hearty combo and the red wine vine vinegar mixed in right before serving adds a bright pop of acid that cuts through the richness of the soup. Beating Winter Blues + Slimming Down + Lots of Flavor = Beef and Barley Soup. Enjoy!

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Beef and Barley Soup

From Eating Well, January / February 2012. Active Time: 40 minutes, Total Time: 40 minutes; 8 servings, about 1 1/2 cups each

16 ounces rump roast , trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped

4 large stalks celery, sliced

4 large carrots, sliced

4 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1 1/2 cups quick-cooking barley

8 cups reduced-sodium beef broth

2 cups water

3 tablespoons parsley, chopped

1-2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

Sprinkle steak with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper and mix well . Heat 1/2 oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the steak and cook, stirring often, until browned on all sides, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Add the remaining oil, onion and celery to the pot and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Add carrot and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more. Add tomato paste and thyme and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are coated with the tomato paste and are beginning to brown, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add barley, broth, water, beef and the remaining salt and pepper; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer; cook until the barley is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in parsley and vinegar to taste.


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