Saturday, November 3, 2012

November soup

First fires of the season. Woodsmoke smells. Cozy blankets on comfy couches. A good book to read. Soup simmering on the stove. Brown leaf blankets covering lawn. Low-lying gray clouds. Love this time of year.

Beef and Barley Soup

1/4 cup flour (season with salt and pepper)
1 pound package of cubed stew meat

olive oil

1/2 cup chopped portobello mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 fennel bulb, diced
1 clove garlic, minced

8 cups beef stock
2 cups water

butternut squash, carrots, baking potato

2/3 cup barley

2 tsp fresh thyme from the herb garden
dash or two of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Toss and coat beef cubes in seasoned flour, drizzle some oil in a dutch oven, brown beef over medium heat. Add onion, mushrooms and fennel. Cook about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook one minute longer. Add beef stock, water and barley. Simmer for one hour while you run daughter to and from dance class (not truly an endorsement to leave simmering pots unattended on stove. We just happen to live across the street, so to speak, from the dance studio). Come home to deliciously scented house.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Arrange two greedy handfuls of baby carrots, about 1/2 peeled, seeded and chopped butternut squash, and two peeled and chopped baking potatoes on a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil, toss around. Roast for 25 minutes. (Slice up a baguette and pour olive oil on a plate for dipping--sprinkle with pepper, pour some wine, visit with Linda while veggies roast.) Pull from oven, and put veggies into soup. Add nutmeg and thyme. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve it up.

Serves 6-8.

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