Root Vegetable Barley Beef Soup or Where’s the weather, Craig?

Solution for a cold winter’s day

 You know how you feel you know your weatherman?  Dave and I refer to the ones we like (Mike and Craig on channel 5 in Colorado Springs -NBC affiliate and Al Roker on TODAY) by their first names, though they wouldn’t know us from Adam.

“What’s Craig say today?”
“Did Mike say what the temperature would be tonight?  Should I bring the herbs in?” (cover the annuals, shut off the sprinklers, bring in the car…. oh the things governed by Mike.)

“Why is Al in another studio?”  “And what’s he wearing?” “How’d he lose all that weight?”  Answer is always, “I dunno.”

Today these intimate friends have forecast all day long for horrible weather…across the country, including Colorado Springs.  I canceled a trip to go oversee an inspection on our new house (actually quite old-built in 1915) in St. Paul:

 So the snow would come and go and disappear.  But the sky stayed gray.  Which it doesn’t in Colorado Springs.  Except once a year or so.  But bad weather?  Not happening.  Not here.  Not yet.  No how.  Maybe later or tomorrow. 

Who knew, though?  Bad weather?  I make soup.  I make bread.  And I did.

The soup is hearty enough for a Super Bowl stew; it’s a beef vegetable soup with nearly only root vegetables and  some barley.  Maybe it could be made from your pantry; I did it from mine.

The bread is a recipe from one of my favorite food writers,Mark Bittman- New York Times.  It’s the quick version of the famous 2006 No-Knead Bread.  If you haven’t yet made that bread, here’s the link to the original article about Jim Lahey (Sullivan Street Bakery) and the bread.  It’s world famous, by now.   Well, nearly.  Definitely the most famous recipe in the New York Times, at least for Bittman, in ten years.  That’s what he said in his last (boohoo) column.  That’s saying something.  ( I have made the “regular” no-knead bread, as well, and will include a pic of that below.)   And, yes, the longer version is definitely better, but the the quick one’s good and it’s short!  We don’t always have 20 hours.  Here’s how:

Root Vegetable Barley Beef Soup for a Bad Weather Day (right)

  • 3T canola oil
  • 5 # beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 3 large onions, chopped, divided
  • 1 bunch celery, including leaves, chopped coarsely; divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 carrots, cut into 1″ pieces; divided
  • 3-4 parsnips, peeled and cored (if large) and cut into 1/4″-1/2″ pieces; divided
  • 1 large turnip, peeled and cut into 1/4″- 1/2″ piece; divided
  • 2 qts water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 c fresh parsley, chopped finely; divided
  • 2 qts beef stock, low sodium (your own fresh or frozen or boxed/jarred from the store)
  • 1 28 oz can chopped tomatoes, no salt
  • 2 c shredded green cabbage
  • 2 t kosher salt
  • several drops of Tabasco
  • 2/3 c medium pearled barley
  • 1T basil or 1 t dry thyme, optional
  1. In a very large stockpot, heat oil over medium heat and add half the beef.  Let brown well and turn.  Let that side brown and remove meat to a plate.  Add rest of beef to the pot and repeat.  Add in onion, the garlic, and 1/3 of the celery, carrots, parsnips and turnips.  When meat is well-browned, add the already-cooked beef and stir well together.
  2. Pour in the water and add the bay leaf, pepper and half of the parsley.  Stir well and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce  heat.  Simmer until beef and vegetables are tender, 1 1/2- 2 hours.
  3.   Bring back to a boil and add the rest of the vegetables (including the cabbage), parsley, stock, tomatoes, salt, Tabasco, barley and basil or thyme, if using.  Cook until barley is tender, 40-50 minutes.
  4. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  5.  Serve hot in large, warmed bowls with hefty hunks of baguette and butter if you didn’t make the bread.

Cook’s Note:  This is a one-afternoon soup in Alyce’s tradition of making the stock and the soup nearly all together.  While it’s not a perfect solution, it’s tasty and workable.  You cook the meat with a few vegetables and make a stock, adding the rest at the end and including some store-bought stock to round out the soup.  It’s definitely not original, but I worked it out myself raising a houseful of kids who needed meals every night for about twenty years.  Before adding the second round of vegetables and jarred/boxed stock, you can also remove the already cooked vegetables and puree them, if you like.  Of course, you throw them right back in the pot.  It gives you the opportunity for having only freshly-cooked veg in the final soup if that’s important to you.

Cook’s Note for the Bread: Read the recipe and instructions thoroughly before beginning.

A little gallery for you:

House so cold, I had to leave bread in the oven and take a temp; it needs to rise at 70 F.

Here’s the bread trail… If you print the recipe from the link, you’ll understand.
Simple, great crumb, lovely crust.. yummy.

Heat bowl 30 min 450F first

Smelling and tapping… Anyone remember James Beard’s bread book?

Note:  Above bread is the quick version of the No-Knead Bread.
Below is the regular version, which is NOT so quick, but still simple.  (Click on link.)

Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the ‘Hood
Cooked up the beef trimmings for the pups…
80th Birthday for Grandpa Gene–Quite a party!
Prayers for peace in Egypt….particularly for the food supply.
Thinking of friend K. preparing a difficult Bartok piece for double piano; the concert’s this week. 
Safe travel for my niece.
Thanks to folks in St. Paul putting our house through inspection.
Blessings on First Presbyterian of Champaign, Illinois, where we worshiped Sunday with family.
Warmth and safety to all those facing the weather in our country.
A great semester to daughter Emily and all her fellow-seminarians beginning the second semester of the school year.
Went to see “True Grit” with Dave, Bill, Lorna and Gene.  Come back, John Wayne?
Sing a new song,