The last couple weeks have been a bit on the chilly side. Actually they have been darn cold! After rolling up fence to give the cows some more feed or checking watering systems for the cattle I am ready to come in the house and curl up with something warm and comforting and pretend that it isn't minus 100 outside. As long as the cows have wind protection and full bellies the cold weather doesn't bother them much. They are well adapted to our colder climate and grow a thick winter coat. It is such a good insulator that their body heat doesn't even melt the snow on their back when the weather stays cold! On the other hand I need layer on layer to stay warm until I look like the Michelin man by the time I get outside.
With these cold temperatures I was craving warm comfort food to thaw me out when I came in the house. But I am also trying to eat more veggies as part of an attempt at a New Year's resolution...kind of...sort of...
So this recipe ticks off both of those boxes! It has the warm soul food down pat but it also has a bunch of veggies! And...hold on there's more...it's made with homemade bone broth! Have you heard of bone broth? And the benefits of collagen? And all the other benefits from homemade broth? I'll have to write about that another day.
When I make this soup the end product is dictated by what I have on hand for vegetables but I have written down one version of the recipe. Moral of the story? If you don't have exactly what is listed in the ingredients or prefer other veggies/spices feel free to make some substitutions.
No bone broth? You can use regular beef broth or substitute water and beef bouillon.
Like potatoes or noodles more than barley? Make the switch!
Have ground beef in the freezer and not stew meat? Easy substitution!
Want more veggies? Add them! And if you're missing one of the vegetables listed you can still make this soup.
This recipe isn't a last minute Hail Mary at 5:59pm type of supper recipe. But it isn't complicated or very time consuming. However make sure you have enough cook time to simmer the beef and fully cook the barley and vegetables. This is 2-3 hours. First step is to brown the stew meat in batches to keep from over crowding the pot. This step provides great flavour but can be skipped if you're running low on time. Next add all the beef back into the pot and cover with the bone broth. Cover the pot and simmer over low heat for 1-2 hours. This will turn a tough and cheaper cut of beef into a melt in your mouth spoonful. Once your beef is done start adding veggies. The smaller the dice, the faster the cook. Once you add all the veggies, allow them to cook for 10 minutes before adding the remaining ingredients. Simmer until the veggies and barley are tender and your kitchen fills with mouth watering smells that make your stomach growl. Add more broth or water if your soup is too thick - I tend to make soup that is bordering on stew consistency so this recipe can be a bit thick.
Clear as mud? I tend to make supper without much of a recipe and using what I find in the pantry, fridge and freezer. But I will include the basic recipe for this soup below. With flexible recipes like this don't get hung up on the details. You can make this recipe to suit your family's tastes and using the ingredients you have at your house.