Soup’s On! Beef Vegetable & Barley (Part 2)

Beef Vegetable & Barley

So Part 2 and the finale to our little “Soups On!” series and this is by far my favorite of the two. Since we forgot to use the Rainbow Chard in our Hearty Chicken Vegetable Soup, we decided that since we had plenty of leftover veggies, we’d whip together another crock of soup. Neil and I haven’t done a lot of experimenting with Chard. I learned its a green descended from the beet, and it was given the name chard to distinguish it from spinach. Definitely the most beautiful green we’ve ever seen. See for yourself:

Vegetable Barley Beef

I still cannot get over how beautiful it is. The chard sat like this on our counter for about 20 minutes as we continued to admire it and take pictures. You know you’ve hit a new level of abject foodie-ism when your remarks on food include the words “breathtaking” and “beautiful.” Have you ever done this with food? I still have some leftover in our crisper, so yet another half hour might be lost this week at some point. Time well spent I say. For crissakes, it even looks beautiful in the crock pot:

Vegetable Barley Beef

Okay, enough obsessing over chard, I don’t want to scare away the few of you who might still be out there. We made a few changes to this batch. Obviously the chard was a new addition, but we also added barley and opted for beef stock instead of chicken. You can definitely use veggie stock and get wonderful flavor as well. We also opted for a tri-brown bean combination instead of a white northern bean. We kicked it up a notch with a little chili powder and combined with beef stock and kidney, pinto, and black beans it had a much sharper flavor. The result was completely delicious, and I’m still enjoying it on day two and the flavor just gets better and better.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups peeled and chopped potatoes
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • Two 14.5-ounce cans petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • Three 14-ounce cans fat-free, low sodium beef broth
  • One 15.5-ounce can kidney/pinto/black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 bunch cleaned and chopped Rainbow chard- leaves only- leave thick ribs out (about 5 ounces total)
  • 1 cup barley
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese or oyster crackers
  • 1-2 tsp. of chili powder (optional if you want to spice things up!)
  • Dash of basil to taste

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion to pot & sauté for a couple of minutes, until softened a bit. Add oregano & garlic; sauté 1 minute.
2. Assemble all ingredients (except Parmesan cheese) in crock pot. Take note that canned ingredients are drained of their juices before being added. Slice chard greens from stem and cut into 2″ strips. I do this by rolling the large piece and slicing it down like a sushi roll. The pieces tend to look neater and if you’re OCD like me this is optimal.
3. If you want soup in less than five hours, set crock to high. If you have more time (preferred), set to low and simmer for 6-8 hours. Be prepared for your house to smell of awesomeness! 
4. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle Parmesan or oyster crackers on top of each individual serving.

Beef Vegetable & Barley

It’s so good. I can’t even put it into words. It’s a stew, but a healthy soup, but it kind of has the consistency of a chili without all the tomato flavor. It’s by far the best soup we’ve created to date. With the exception of the broth it is both meatless and light, and full of immuno-boosting veggies. I hope you’ll give it a shot, …or at the very least buy yourself some Rainbow chard to admire in your kitchen.

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