beef, leek and barley soup – smitten kitchen

Seeing as my parents were spending the afternoon at my apartment on Sunday so I could pilfer content for my site from their recipe box, I figured the least I could do was make them some lunch. And although it is not quite soup weather yet, I have not been able to get my mind off of a recipe I read recently, so soup it was.


Oh, but this is not just any soup. This will be, hands down and no contest, the easiest soup you have ever made. You’re not going to believe how simple it is, and what you get as a result–something so unbelievably hearty, you’ll never have room for your next course. It’s filling and healthy and warming and delicious and oh my god, I bet you just want me to cut to the chase already, don’t you?

about to simmer

Here you go: Put some stuff in a soup pot, bring it to a simmer and cook it for three hours while you go about your business. Um, you got all that? Because that is all there is. I bet you won’t even need to print this recipe off, except to check back a zillion times, unable to believe that food this good can be this easy to make.

And did you catch that “go about your business” part? I bet you recognize that voice by now, that charming lady that tells you that recipes should adapt to your schedule and not vice-versa? Why yes, it’s Laurie Colwin once again, and now that I am two for two with her runaway hits of recipes, I don’t think I can turn back now. I am too inspired. I can’t wait to hear all of the ways all of you adapt this recipe, so be sure to report back, okay?

short rib lost its bone

One year ago: Peanut Butter Brownies
Two years ago: Roasted Acorn Squash with Chile Vinaigrette

Beef, Leek and Barley Soup
Adapted from Laurie Colwin’s Home Cooking

1. Trim two big, meaty short ribs and put them on the bottom of your soup pot.

2. Add 1/2 cup of barley, three big cloves of garlic shopped up, two chopped onions, and three leeks cut lengthwise and then into segments–use both the white and the green parts. You can also add mushrooms and any other vegetables you might like. Grind in a little black pepper.

3. Add about eight cups of filtered water or beef stock and let it simmer on the back burner for at least three hours while you go about your business. You can also add lima beans, cube potatoes, peas, corn, string beans and chopped tomatoes at any point, or the second day, should you have any leftover.

4. Before serving, skim off the fat–there will be a bit, as short ribs are quite fatty–take the meat off the bones, chop it and put it back in the soup.

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