Here we go again. By we, I mean A Reluctant Foodie and my friend Anneli from over here at Delicieux, a wonderful food blog from this private chef residing in France. Twice before we each written guest posts for each other’s blog, and we’re at it again!

Last time we took on our family recipes for meatballs – mine Italian, Anneli’s Swedish. Prior to that, it was our versions of stuffed peppers. This time, in a nod to the season (at least here in the Northern hemisphere) we will each be writing about a hearty soup/stew.

We love soups and stews. Frankly, I think we could eat them most every day. One of our favorites is beef barley with mushrooms. There is something magical about this combination that never fails to satisfy. Now, I’m sure you’ve had your share of beef barley soup before and are wondering what is so special about this one. Well, as in life, the devil is in the details.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound well marbled beef (chuck roast), cubed
  • couple of tbsp of flour seasoned with salt and pepper (to coat beef)
  • 8 oz button mushrooms (cut and save stems to make sofrito)
  • 5-7 shitake mushrooms
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 quarts water or stock
  • ¾ cup pearled barley
  • ¼ cup fortified wine (sherry or port or Madeira)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley

Preparation

  • Combine shallots, garlic, carrot, celery, onion and the button mushroom stems in a food processor and blitz until they make a paste. This is the sofrito.Vegetables for sofrito
  • Sauté this mixture in 1 tbsp of oil and the butter  on medium high heat until moisture is evaporated and it achieves a nice golden brownSofrito Beef Stew
  • Add tomato paste, cook another few minutes
  • Add bay leaves and water or stock, bring to simmer.
  • In a separate sauté pan, heat 1 tbsp oil until almost smoking – add mushrooms and sauté until brown. Remove from pan and reserve.Mushrooms for beef stew
  • Deglaze pan with ¼ cup fortified wine, reducing by at least ½. Add to simmering stock.
  • Rinse pan and return to heat.
  • Add just enough oil to coat bottom of pan and add beef which has been tossed and lightly coated in seasoned flour Chuck beef for stew
  • Brown well on all sides and add to simmering stock.
  • When beef is almost tender (timing will depend on the size of your pieces), add barley and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Add mushrooms and cook until desired tenderness.
  • Finish with additional black pepper and parsley.
  • If you like a little hint of acid, you can add a small shot of vinegar or sherry to the soup.

As an added bonus, we took the leftover soup a couple of days later and added carrots and potatoes which turned it into more of a stew. Almost like getting two for the price of one!

Please hop on over to see Anneli’s post – A Spicy Seafood Stew with Chorizo. It’s worth a look!

I am entering this recipe into Made With Love Mondays hosted by Javelin Warrior.

Made with Love Mondays, hosted by Javelin Warrior
And also into Herbs On A Saturday hosted this month by London Busy Body.
Herbs on Saturday