Bowl of Beef and Barley

While I love to cook for groups of people – friends, family, and sometime coworkers and classmates – I often end up cooking for one. This occasionally presents a bit of a problem in terms of leftover logistics. Such as a craving for roast beef right before Christmas (helped along by a nice sale on chuck roast). I salt and peppered and browned the roast on all sides, and then plopped it into a slow cooker with some tomato sauce, browned onions, more salt and pepper, carrots, a sprig of fresh rosemary, balsamic vinegar, several cloves of garlic, and some water. Cooked on low for hours (at least 5) it was fall apart tender when I loaded my plate for dinner. Then I had some for dinner the next night, and the next, and then I had to leave, so the broth, meat, onions, and remaining carrots went into the freezer.

Now that I’m done with my holiday travels, back at work, and dealing with nasty cold temperatures (-26 last night when I was driving home last night and who knows what the wind chill was) I decided that I wanted some beef and barley soup. I based my soup on what I had in my cupboard and refrigerator the night I decided to make this, since I had thawed out the beef to use as my base. I added some carrots that were starting to look sad and some lacinato kale that I bought for another project that never got going. Everything else came from staples I keep on hand – pearled barley that I buy in bulk, canned tomatoes, and a carton of beef broth. The amount of meat and onions will be influenced by the amount of leftovers you have or you can start everything from fresh, but I thought that my amounts were well balanced.

Leftover Beef and Barley Soup

Beef and Barley Soup

Roast beef (I had about 2 lbs)
Broth and veggies from roast beef (didn’t think to measure)
1 cup of pearled barley
1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped
carrots (I used 5 in addition to what was already cooked), peeled and sliced into rounds
1 can chopped tomatoes (14.5 ounces)
1 carton of beef broth (32 ounces)
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (I used about 1/4 teaspoon, but I dried my oregano myself and know that it is quite potent, so you may need more to get the desired effect, so add more to taste)
salt and pepper

Take the meat and carrots out of the cooking broth and pour the broth into a large pot. Note: I also removed the whole garlic cloves, mashed them into a paste and add that to the soup as well. Chop the meat and carrots into bite-sized pieces. Add to the pot along with the carrots, kale, tomatoes, beef broth, and barley. Bring to a simmer and add the oregano. Cook until the barley is soft – about 45 minutes to an hour. Taste for salt and pepper, adding more as necessary.

This would also be delicious with sliced mushrooms – if using add about 5 minutes before serving.

This soup will serve 4-6 people and or can serve one person for several meals. It freezes very well.