Hi. Hello! I’m so glad you’re here. This is my first post and feels like an awkward blind date, which has never been my strong suite, but ahh hell I’ll make the best of it (ironically, this is also how I’ve always approached blind dates. Hopefully this goes better).
You should read my “About Me” page, but if you don’t here’s the jist: I love food. I love making food, I love eating food, and I love talking about food. My boyfriend loves food too, but in a different way…actually several different ways than I do. I’m a vegetarian, he’s a bow hunter, I never stop thinking about my next meal, he tends to forget to eat meals, I’m all about natural ingredients, he’s all about the most economically sound purchase (read: cheap). So, as you may guess, we tend to come up with some creative ways to find culinary bliss.
Which brings me to my first recipe. During one particularly blustery midwestern day a couple weeks ago, the boy and I were talking about soup. While he likes meaty soup and I like chunky tomato soup, we came to the conclusion that we both like barley soup (and really, who doesn’t? If you don’t you should really start embracing good things in life). So, being the creative compromiser that I am, I decided to make the best Beef(like) Barley Vegetable Soup possible. This soup of champions would taste meaty, have chunks of tomatoes, and barley. Am I SOUPer woman or what? (okay fine, I like puns. The jig is up).
Beef(like) Barley Vegetable Soup
Adapted (yet heavily adjusted) from MARGOC at AllRecipes
Note: This makes a LOT. Like 10 servings. Get your freezer ready
- 1 cup pearl barley
- 2 cups water
- 1 bag meatless sausage crumbles (In the frozen section by the veggie burgers. Be not afraid.)
- 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1 onion, chopped (white, red, yellow, whatevs)
- 1 yellow squash, chopped
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- One head’s worth of broccoli florets (around 2 cups)
- 1 cup frozen peas (cause I had ’em)
- Dash(es) of cumin to taste
- Dash(es) of crushed red pepper to taste
- 2 vegetable bouillon cubes, flavor packets, etc.
- 6 cups water
- 1 28oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- Sea salt to taste
- Ground black pepper to taste
Boil the two cups of water, add the barley, make sure it starts to boil again, put a lid on it and turn the burner down so it just simmers. Let it sit for 35-45 minutes. Easy as that, and you’re onto the MEAT…
Okay, so not real MEAT, but if you want to use real MEAT you go for it! The sausage crumbles are easy to make. Just cover a pan with nonstick cooking spray, pour the bag in, and use a spatula to get them cooked all over. Set aside.
Pour about 1 tbsp of the EVOO in the pan over medium heat with the garlic, and cook until fragrant (easy now, don’t burn it). Add the onion, along with enough olive oil that the onion glistens with EVOO beauty. Once the onion is translucent, add the other chopped veggies, along with the rest of the EVOO. Depending on how big your vegetables are, you may need more EVOO. Pour happy, it’s good fat. Add cumin and some black pepper. Let the veggies mingle until they’re comfortable (soft), which will probably take about 10 minutes.
In the next step you get to just pour with abandon. Add the water, and add the boullion cubes/flavor packets (whatever type of stock you have on hand). One note about bouillon: I know the water-to-bouillon ratio in this recipe is not what is recommended on the package of the bouillon, but I like to be somewhat in control of my sodium, so I use less bouillon and add salt until it’s just right. After you’ve thought long and hard about YOUR bouillon-to-water ratio, add the tomatoes. Is your pot looking too chunky? Add more water. It’s not an exact science, and I won’t be offended. Bring the whole thing to a boil, and let it roll for a couple minutes, stirring occasionally. After those two minutes are up, add the sausage crumbles, add the cooked barley, turn the burner down to a simmer, and let the flavors merge together in perfect harmony until you’re ready to eat!
Serve about 2 cups to each person, and grate some cheese on top quickly so it melts into gooey goodness. I’ve served it with parmesan and white cheddar, and recommend both.
The verdict from the boy? He scarfed down two bowls the first time I made it, and took a few servings to “deer camp” the next week. Tonight he’s at deer camp eating buck loins, but what’s a girl to do?