Confession: when cooking for myself, my own devices usually involves the jar of peanut butter and bread. Or crackers eaten directly from the box.
Or if I'm really feeling like I want to cook, then scrambled eggs.
I do not like cooking for myself - not because I don't like cooking, but because I hate cleaning up after.
Last night, as I walked home through the downtown core, the windchill brought the temperature down into the negative double digits. I knew peanut butter was just not going to work for me.
So, I braved the thought of creating a mountain of dishes and decided to make soup. Of course, I didn't have all the ingredients I needed for either my beef barley recipe (I only had ground beef) nor my dutch meatball soup (no leeks or egg noodles). In the end, I created a hybrid. And, if I do say so myself, I think it turned out pretty well.
|Using dried mushrooms and their soaking liquid infuses an earthy flavour to the soup.|
1 lb lean ground beef
½ large onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp thyme
½ tsp sage
½ package dried porcini mushrooms
7 cups water
1 beef boullion stock cube
½ cup pot barley, rinsed and drained
2 bay leaves
2 tsp tamari soy sauce
3 tbsp dry sherry
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1. In a large pot covered with cooking spray, sauté beef until just brown over medium heat. Remove from pot with slotted spoon and leave in a bowl while you prepare the vegetables.
2. Meanwhile, cover dried mushrooms with 4 cups of boiling water. Let sit, while you prep the remaining ingredients.
3. Sauté onion, celery, carrot and garlic with thyme and sage until soft, about 5 minutes.
4. Remove mushrooms from liquid (be sure to save this) and coarsely chop.
5. Return beef and its juices that have accumulated in the bowl to the pot. Add chopped mushrooms, their soaking liquid and the remaining 3 cups of water along with the bouillon cube and the barley and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Let simmer for 30-40 minutes until barley is tender.
6. Just before serving, add sherry, tamari, parsley. Taste and then add salt and pepper accordingly.
Serve with a grilled cheese sandwich, and you're set for that brisk winter night!