Tip of the Week

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A hearty soup on a rainy day

It's finally raining here in Northern California; rain that is much needed.  And I find that a hearty soup or stew is the perfect thing to satisfy you while it's raining.  One of my favorites is barley soup and I had an amazing bowl on a misty day in Carmel at the Forge in the Forest.  So I decided to recreate it with ingredients I already had at home.

To recreate it at home I started from scratch, even making my own beef stock.

Here's what you need for the Stock:
Organic beef marrow or femur bones
Whole Peppercorns
Fresh thyme
Bay leaf

Note:  I blanched the bones starting in cold water and bringing to a boil, then boiling the bones for 8-10 minutes.  Remove from heat and run cold water over the bones until they have cooled.  Remove the bone marrow with a soup and set aside for your dogs.

For the soup:
Beef stock (that you just made)
3-4 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme or a few springs fresh thyme
1 cup barley (I cook mine in 2 cups boiling water at a simmer for about 10 minutes or until tender)
2 leeks (optional)
1 1/2 cup diced cremini mushrooms (optional)
4 tbsp tomato paste (optional), you can also add chopped tomatoes
Salt and Pepper to taste

1.  Add all the ingredients to a Crockpot (or cook in a pot on the stove) with enough water to cover, usually 8-11 cups.
2.  Let the ingredients cook, once boiling for a few hours.  Keep an eye on it so you don't over cook and end up with a lot of the fat in the stock.
3.  Remove all ingredients and leave the stock in the pot.  (I cut up the carrots for my dogs and took about 2 cups of the stock as well).  Note: Do NOT feed onions to your dog.
4.  Add onions, carrots and celery to a pan with a little olive oil and saute.  Then add the chopped garlic.
5.  Add to the stock.
6.  Add mushrooms, if using, to the pan with a little olive oil.  Saute to remove some of the moisture and crisp the mushrooms.
7.  Add to the stock.
8.  Add thyme, salt and pepper, and tomato paste.
9.  Let cook for a few hours, before adding cooked barley.

This can be easily modified to include other vegetables or shredded beef if you prefer.  I really find the homemade stock add more flavor than boxed or canned.  And it's really easy to make!

Saute onions, carrots, celery

Saute mushrooms

Everything in the pot

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