I thought I would share the recipe for the soup I made last night night. It was delicious, and healthy to boot! This made a huge pot of it, so feel free to scale down, but it's amazing as leftovers. It has a lot of ingredients and seems like a lot of steps (that's because I tried to break it down as much as possible), but is really simple to make, you don't have to be a "great" cook.
* Package of stew beef from Trader Joe's--We chose it because it's free of hormones and anibiotics, but really the amount of stew meat is what you want, it doesn't affect the soup too much, since it's more of a veggie soup.
* 1/2 c. barley (we like a lot, use less if you just want it sprinkled throughout)
* 1/2 of a large onion or 1 medium onion
* 3 carrots, chopped
* 2 sticks of celery, chopped
* 2 medium potatoes (about 2 lbs.)
* 3-4 roma tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
* 1 1/2 c. frozen peas
* 1 1/2 c. frozen green beans
* 2 Tbsp. chopped garlic
* 4 portobello mushrooms, chopped
* 8 c. beef broth
* 2 c. water
* olive oil
* salt and pepper to taste
* garlic powder, dried basil, and celery salt to taste
Heat large pot with 1-2 Tbsp. of olive oil on medium heat. Once oil is hot, put in chopped onion and let sweat, saute until soft. Add carrots, celery, and garlic and let sweat.
While that is doing it's thing, heat small skillet to medium-low with butter. Once butter is melted and hot, add portobello mushrooms and saute until softened. Set aside for later. (If you put the portobellos in too soon, they absorb the flavour of the soup and you lose their deliciousness!)
Add broth, water, potatoes, tomatoes and barley to pot and bring to a boil. Taste the broth and season to taste. We like a lot of black pepper with steak and mushrooms, so there was quite a bit added. Celery salt sounds odd to use, but I've found it is absolutely necessary for most soups. (I even used it in my potato bacon soup and it took it from good to "holy cow.") Yes, you've put garlic and garlic powder in....they're different tastes, and both necessary. Let simmer for about 45 minutes (the barley takes a while).
Once the veggies are soft, and the barley has poufed up and is softened (but not mushy), add the beef (I cut mine up into small bites), frozen peas and green beans. It will cool the temp down and you will need to let it come to a boil again. Cook until peas and beans are fully cooked (you don't want them too crunchy or they will stick out as you eat it). Once it's cooked to where you like it, turn it down to low and add the mushrooms.
Stir it up, ladle into bowls and enjoy! This was my first time throwing this soup together (the recipe is my own) and G and I both agree it's even better the next day! It will absorb the liquid, so if you like more broth you might need to add either water or broth the next day. I don't mind it being more chunky veggies so we left it as is.