April 4, 2014
My grandmother, Bertha Scher, was a believer in the slow sauté. Chopped onions and garlic, sautéed over the lowest flame, still releases the familiar memories of so much of the food she joyfully prepared for 8 grandkids. We all loved the sweetness and depth of flavor in her cooking and of course, never gave it much thought.
It occurs to me, now, that she teased it out with another kitchen basic. This common and distinctly American condiment added a toasty honey hue (yup, she knew about eye appeal, too) to countless bowls of her veggie soup and equally irresistible potted meatballs.
The secret ingredient was ketchup.
And while Nanny may have knowingly reached for ketchup for a little zest and tang, I rarely do. But, anticipating yet another snowfall last week, I channeled her slightly sweet and perfectly uncomplicated cooking with this easy, long simmered, beef barley soup. I am sure she would have loved this “bowl of health”.
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
6 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
one pound beef flanken, chopped or stew meat (not too lean)
8 oz. white, organic, mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
1 cup homemade beef or chicken stock
10-12 cups beef or veggie broth (organic, preferably)
3 Tb. ketchup
a generous handful of fresh dill, chopped
salt and pepper
Sautee onion and garlic, 7-10 mins.
Add beef and brown.
Throw all ingredients into slow cooker, stir to combine and simmer on low for 8 hours. Alternatively, simmer, covered, on stove top for 2 hours.
Enjoy this rich and old fashioned soup on a freezing winter day!
Tips: The best dishes use homemade chicken, beef or vegetable broth. I keep a container for each, clearly labeled, in my freezer. When I have leftover gravy from roasted chicken or cooking liquid from wokked or steamed vegetables, I cool it and add it to the appropriate container. These long simmered gravies serve as rich, complex bases for winter soups.
Posted in Soups and Stews
Tags: barley, Beef, carrots, celery, grandparents, ketchup, Mushrooms, Soup