Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Soup Days

It's been awhile since I've posted; and it's time to get back to writing.

The summer was busy visiting friends on Nantucket, Cape Cod and Long Beach Island; cooking for and eating with friends; and five beautiful days in Mexico City for a fabulous family wedding.

But now fall has arrived in the northeast, and schedules are beginning to get back to normal. This past Sunday was rainy and dismal--the perfect kind of day to make soup.

I love making soup. The possiblilites are endless, and it is great to know that there is a nutritious meal or two tucked away in the freezer for nights when there is no time to cook.

Beef barley soup is a great one to start with.

Beef Barley Soup
Serves 4-6

1 lb. beef chuck (or round) cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 carrots cut into large dice
3 celery stalks cut into large dice
1 onion, minced
1/2 cup pearled barley
1 14 oz. can chopped tomatoes, roughly pureed
4 cups lower-sodium beef broth
4 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown beef cubes in hot oil.Season with salt and pepper. Add carrots, celery and onion and saute for 1-2 minutes. Season with salt.

Add barley to pot and saute for about 1 minute. Add broth and water and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover pot and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add tomatoes to pot and continue to cook for about 30 minutes, until meat is tender and barley is cooked through. Season to taste.

Serve this with a loaf of crusty whole grain bread and sweet butter along with a salad of mixed greens tossed with a vinaigrette--and you'll be good to go.