Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Little of This, A Little of That

Sometimes - or I guess, often - blog posts are a lot like weekday meals: a little of this and a little of that. There are so many blog topics to choose from and sometimes each of those choices aren't quite enough for a full post. This week's blog is like that; and so I'll describe a great meal we had last night. We had beef, barley, vegetable soup - it was so rich and satisfying on a rainy night! But because my friend Bobbie built it from leftovers, I'll first need to describe the original ingredients.

Slow Cooker Braised Beef Roast
2.5 pounds (approximately) roast beef (I used a sirloin tip roast)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup red wine
20 ounces beef broth
1 onion, peeled and diced into large chunks
2 stalks celery, cut in 1/2 inch chunks
2 carrots, cut in 1/2 inch chunks
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
4 potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 bay leaves

  1. Rinse roast beef and pat dry; sprinkle with salt and pepper
  2. In a large pot, heat oil; then add roast and brown on all sides
  3. Add red wine and cover quickly; simmer 5 minutes
  4. In a slow cooker (such as a Crockpot), heat the beef broth while browning beef
  5. Add the beef and all remaining ingredients
  6. Cover and cook on LOW setting for 6 - 9 hours
  7. Remove bay leaves; let roast rest for 10 minutes and then slice; serve au jus with vegetables
Here's the recipe for the soup from leftovers (Note: this is soup from leftovers, so all of these measurements are approximate. Feel free to modify as you wish - it'll still be wonderful!)

Beef with Barley and Vegetables Soup
leftover beef broth - about 2 - 4 cups
1 - 2 cups water
1/2 cup pearled barley
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 large onion, peeled and diced
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
leftover roast beef - about 8 ounces or so, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 cup diced mushrooms
8 - 12 cherry tomatoes, diced
  1. In a large pot, combine broth, water, barley, carrots, celery, onion, and bay leaves
  2. Simmer until barley is soft - we like it a little chewy or al dente; add water as necessary
  3. In a large frying pan, saute the beef, peppers, mushrooms, and tomatoes until soft; set aside
  4. When the barley is cooked to your liking, add the beef, peppers, mushrooms, and tomatoes to the soup and heat through
  5. Remove the bay leaves and serve
We had this soup with a cold, crisp Romaine salad and completed the meal with Trader Joe's Triple Ginger Cookies - great combination. Oh! And we had an actual terrific wine pairing with this meal: Washington state's Columbia Crest Merlot, 2011. Delicious!

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