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Beef and Barley Soup from Homemade Beef Stock

002When trying to recreate a recipe, it’s probably a good idea to have tasted it sometime in the last decade.  I have this glorious memory of the Beef and Barley Soup served at the Madrigal [1] dinners in my high school.  I was a lowly serving wench back in those days, kept out of the kitchen and off of the stage.  Technically, I think I became ineligible for the performance when I opted to drop out of choir to become the AP Chemistry Lab assistant.  In retrospect, that was probably a good call, since chemistry was probably my favorite subject and one of the *very* few I nailed in college.  Plus chemistry labs are fun.  I’m not completely tone deaf, but I’m definitely not going to win American Idol either.   So I probably wouldn’t have been selected for the Madrigal Singers – it was very competitive – and that would have a been a serious ego crush for me.  So I stuck with the safe route, a reoccurring theme in my life, and found another path where I was much more capable of being a successful competitor – locked down actually, since the teacher had already chosen me to *be* the lab assistant.

Any how, since I really did love the music, and many of my friends were involved, I chose to be a serving wench.  I graciously delivered bowls of beef with barley soup, plates of prime rib, and glasses of wassail to the crowd.  As a reward, I got free dinner and to see the show.  And a reason to be out socializing on a school night.  Which I was *always* looking for.  So perhaps I was caught up in the beauty of the costumes, or the sound of the music, or caught up flirting with my latest love interest, some how, I can not make this soup taste how I remember it, nor find a recipe that in anyway holds promise to do so.  And I didn’t go to a fancy high school so so I’m bound to be crushed one day when I learn I’ve been longing for Kroger brand Soup in economy size cans.

This soup isn’t bad, my husband loved it actually.  And the homemade beef stock from the leftover ribs from my standing rib roast turned out perfectly.  But if you love something you eat when out and about – beg, borrow, or steal the recipe quickly!  Don’t wait to attempt your own version nearly 15 years later. I realize many of you have no desire to make your own stock.  So for an express version, simply purchase boxed beef stock.  I recommend Kitchen Basics [2].  But if you cook a standing rib roast, save your bones in a ziploc in the freezer and make this stock some Sunday!  One thing I’ll probably alter next round will be to use a chuck roast instead of leftover prime rib, cause seriously, who usually has that lying around.  I’ll go ahead and brown it and braise it the way I do for my pot roast and chimichanga [3] meat.  Then shred the meat and add it to the soup.  I’m a huge fan of shredded over cubed meats.

Beef and Barley Soup

6 c. beef stock – see recipe for homemade stock below

3 stalks celery, chopped

1.5 c. baby carrots

1 medium white onion, chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 c. pearled barley, uncooked

3 c. leftover rare prime rib

Kosher Salt

Fresh Ground Pepper

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Heat olive oil in a stock pot over medium high heat.  Add carrots, onions, and celery and saute until slightly browning, scented, and softening.  Add beef stock, leftover prime rib, and garlic, bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer.

Meanwhile, boil 4 cups of water in a sauce pan.  Add 1 tsp salt and barley, reduce to a simmer, cook for 45 minutes.  Then add to soup.  Remove leftover prime rib from stock, then shred if you can or cut into bite size pieces and add back to stock.  Skim any surface fat with a spoon to remove.  Season soup with salt, pepper and cayenne to taste.  Let simmer 15 more minutes, then serve.

Homemade Beef Stock

leftover ribs (4) from a standing rib roast


2 tbsp salt

2.5 c. celery, chopped

2 c. yellow onion, chopped

2 c. baby carrots

fresh ground pepper

Place ribs in large stock pot, fill to the top with water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook for 3 hours, then add celery, onions, and carrots, salt and pepper.  Cook another hour, then strain into a fresh pan.  Let sit 30 minutes to separate, then skim off all fat with a spoon.  Or refrigerate, then pull off the solid fat pieces.

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