Sunday, March 8, 2009

Mushroom Beef Barley Soup

1 small bunch of fresh dill
1 lb. boneless beef chuck, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 T olive oil
1 medium onion, cut in 1/2-inch dice
1 1/4 cups hulled barley
1 12-ounce bottle dark beer
3 quarts beef stock
3 carrots, cut in 3/4-inch dice
8 ounces button mushrooms, wiped clean, quartered
1 T fresh thyme, roughly chopped
2 parsnips, cut in 1/2-inch dice

Preparing the soup:
Place all but 7 sprigs of dill into a piece of cheese-cloth; tie with kitchen twine. Roughly chop the remaining sprigs; set both aside.

Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the beef, and cook until browned on all sides, about 4 minutes. Remove beef and any liquid, and set aside.

Add remaining olive oil to stockpot, and place over medium-high heat. Add onion, barley, salt and pepper to taste, and cool until onion is soft and barley is aromatic, about 8 minutes. Add beer, stirring with a wooden spoon to loosen any brown bits on the bottom of the pot; cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.

Add stock, reserved beef, and dill bundle; partially cover; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the carrots, mushrooms, and thyme, and simmer about 15 minutes. Add the parsnips; simmer about 20 minutes. Stir in the reserved chopped dill, and adjust the seasoning to taste with salt and pepper, if necessary. Remove dill bundle and serve hot.


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