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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Beef Barley Shiitake Soup

This delightful recipe was given to me by a sweet couchsurfer from Washington State who, along with her husband, stayed with us a couple of weeks ago. We had a great time talking about food, baking, and her dream to start a bed and breakfast someday. After a quick search on the internet, I found that the recipe is from Woman's Day magazine. It's so delicious, I think this will be my new go-to recipe for beef stew.

Which is kind of funny, because I never had a go-to recipe for beef stew. I've probably made beef stew once in my life before. I don't dislike it; I grew up eating it and it reminds me of home. But I limit how much meat I eat, mainly because animals use up a lot of resources when they are raised. In addition, I don't crave meat like I do vegetables and grains (and chocolate and wine). Seriously -- if I go away for a weekend and cannot control the food that is provided to me, and if there are not enough vegetables, I come home craving them. It all started when I signed up two years ago for a CSA (community supported agriculture) and received eight different types of veggies every week. It's wonderful.

I didn't plan to write this post about sustainable meat, but I guess it's inevitable whenever I post a recipe involving meat. Justin and I joked the other day that the "Beef. It's what's for dinner." campaign would have been more appropriate if it was something like "Beef. It's once a week."

With that, I give you this delicious recipe for beef, provided by Woman's Day (of all places) and discovered by a new friend. Enjoy!

Beef Barley Shitake Soup
Woman's Day November 2010
Serves 4-6

1 teaspoon oil
12 ounces lean beef cubes (or bison) for stew, cut into bite-size pieces
Heat 1 tsp oil in a 5-quart pot over medium-high heat. If you want to get fancy, dry each cube of beef before cutting it to aid in browning. Add beef in 3 batches; cook 4 to 5 minutes or until browned. With slotted spoon, transfer beef to plate. If you use bison, the cooking time will be shorter. If you use a pound of beef (16 ounces), well, now you have some extra to nibble on while you wait for the soup to cook.

2 teaspoons oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, diced
Add oil to pot. Sauté onion and carrots 3 minutes.

12 oz shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps sliced (I used half crimini mushrooms, since shiitakes are kind of pricey)
2 tsp minced garlic
Add mushrooms and garlic; sauté 3 minutes more.

4 cups chicken broth (or 4 cups water with chicken bouillon added)
2 cups water
1/2 cup barley (not quick-cooking)
3/4 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Return beef to pot. Add broth, water, barley, salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 30 minutes or until meat and barley are tender. Season with salt to taste.

Did you grow up eating beef stew? What made it special?

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