Being back at work means going back to routines. Whereas some people hate routines, I actually enjoy them. There is something very comforting about slipping back into a routine that you enjoy. For me, one of those routines is preparing meals. I just love it! I don't, however, enjoy it when I don't have things planned out and I'm rushing around at the last minute searching for ingredients I may or may not have on hand. That doesn't happen too often as I keep a pretty well stocked pantry and freezer, but it does happen from time to time.
This weekend I decided to make soup. We love soup! A hearty soup with crusty bread is one of our favorite meals. It's very cozy and satisfying. I had all of the ingredients on hand to make a big pot of vegetable beef barley soup. YUM! It's finished now and I've packed it away to have for dinner a bit later this week. I can hardly wait! Here's the recipe:
Vegetable Beef Barley Soup
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
4 carrots, cut into coins
2 stalks of celery, chopped - including tops
1 pound beef, cut into bite-sized pieces
6 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
seasonings to taste
1 cup pearl barley
1 seared beef soup bone (optional)
In a stock pot over medium high heat, saute onions and carrots in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the onions begin to brown, add celery and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove veggie mixture to a bowl and set aside. Add beef to the pan and let it caramelize. In one corner of the pan, add remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of flour. Stir beef to coat in flour mixture. Add seasoning to taste (I use Montreal steak seasoning). Slowly pour in beef broth; mix well. When mixture begins to bubble, add sauteed veggies back to the pan. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Add barley and allow the mixture to return to a boil; cook about 25 (+/-) minutes.