Day 45/365: Beef and Barley Soup

Day 45: Beef & Barley Soup

It’s time for food again, specifically soup since it’s still winter. This is another version of my Beef & Barley Soup, each version varies slightly depending on what I have in the refrigerator as leftovers. I love soup, with a little planning it’s so easy, and simple. I keep chopped celery, onions,  carrots, pre-cooked hamburger  in the freezer along with frozen stock and it all goes in the pot together in less than 5 minutes.

The joy of homemade stock/broth. Stock is a bit heartier and gives homemade soup a hearty flavor, nice and rich. What I make is more like broth, but it accomplishes the same thing. You can buy chicken stock from the grocery store in boxes, cans, or even bullion cubes (only if your desperate on the cubes…) if you don’t have any prepared, but homemade is healthier, less salt, and I think tastier.

For those who haven’t saved or made their own stock it’s easy, really. I save chicken broth, potato water (from boiling potatoes for mashing), pork drippings, (just add some water to the juice at the bottom of pan), and lately even the drained water from corn. Okay, purist will say this isn’t stock, but broth, but I get wonderful results in the end, so who’s to say I’m wrong.

When I roast a whole chicken for supper I put the leftover carcass in a big pot, add water to the top, bring to a boil, then simmer for oh…an hour, maybe two. Sometimes I’ll throw in some celery or onions for added flavor, but it’s not necessary, especially since I’m putting all those ingredients in the soup. Then I pull out the bones and put the liquid and chicken meat bits in plastic containers (glad containers, ziplock, orange juice jugs, ice cream buckets, whatever I have) and store in the freezer.

Recently I had a couple pieces of leftover chicken that didn’t get eaten, a leg and thigh. I put them in a smaller pot and made 2 cups of stock. Easy, easy.

Now that I’ve covered stock/broth let’s get to the recipe, remember exact amounts are NOT crucial, soup is a magical food that is actually hard to mess up. More water can be added if the mixture is too thick.

Ingredients

  • 8 cups stock
  • 16 oz fine stewed tomatoes (I used my homemade with celery, onion, carrots)
  • 1 1/2 lbs cooked hamburger (I prepare 5 lbs ahead of time and put in 1 lb bags in freezer)
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 cup diced or sliced carrots
  • 2 TBSP dried parsley
  • 1 TBSP dried sweet basil
  • 1 tsp black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tsp Lowrys Seasoning Salt (my daughter calls this “special salt”)
  • 1 cup barley (added the last hour)

Directions

Add all the ingredients except the barley, bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat and simmer for one hour. Then add barley. Simmer for an additional 45 minutes or until the barley is tender. Makes approximately 12 one cup servings. Eat, and freeze leftovers in single serving containers for later. If you have any.

When is it done? I tell my kids when you can smell it outside it’s done. My Marine son recently tested this method when he was home on leave. The aroma was driving him crazy inside, his sister came home and said “What smells so good? I could smell it from outside” Nathan declared. “Soups done!”

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