Saturday, February 6, 2010

Lynnie's Homemade Beef-Barley Soup & more...

Normally, I don't write my blog entry until late evening, so that I can write about my day. Today will be different.

I've decided to write my blog entry early, because this evening, I have plans. A young couple from church host a small Bible study group. The group began in the fall; a few couples that Gordon and I were friendly with, participate. Due to Gordon's illness/death we did not participate. Then, in December, the group put the study on hold, until after Christmas. January was vacation time for the hosts, so we are just beginning to meet, tonight.

It may seem strange for me to meet with married couples, but some of Gordon and my friends have been so good to me, reaching out in Christian love. One good thing is that my friends A & K, are bringing A's Mom, who is living/visiting with them from Jamaica. At least I won't be the only unattached person in the group. I truly am grateful for good friends and a loving church family, who have reached out to me in love. Thank you, Lord!

Yesterday, I made some delicious, homemade beef-barley soup. Some Facebook friends liked my comment about making a pot of beef-barley soup and requested a recipe. Later I will make a Facebook entry letting them know they should read today's blog entry for the recipe, because a recipe is probably too long for Facebook entries. Besides, when I cook, I don't always use a 'recipe'. As in this case.

Before I begin, I would like to thank C & K, who were kind enough to have me for dinner. The roast was delicious! And, I thank you, for sending me home with the broth, with which I made this delicious soup. The beef I added to my pot of soup, was some roast beef that I had made previously and frozen for a future meal.

So, for those who want to know, I'll just discuss how I made the soup. I'll do my best to explain, but you need to know that I don't always measure ingredients. Oh well, you'll see...

Lynnie's Homemade Beef-Barley Soup

Beef broth, gravy or bouillon
Garlic powder

You need to know that some people use prepackaged broth or beef bouillon cubes for broth, but I haven't yet tried this. So far, I've used gravy as my base or beef broth kept after cooking a roast, which is what I used this time. If you use beef broth kept after cooking a roast, be sure to cool it in the refrigerator and remove any excess fat that surfaces. If you need to, you can always mix broths, by supplementing a cooked broth with store bought or even cubes, from what my friend K, told me.

The reason I like to use homemade beef broth or gravy as my base, is because when I cook a roast, I add to it ingredients like: onion, garlic (cut, mashed or whole), tomatoes, salt and pepper; together, with the roast, you have a deliciously flavoured broth with which to make gravy or soup from. So, since the broth/gravy already has a delicious flavour that I like, as opposed to using storebought or a cube of something that I am not sure the taste of, I prefer to use it.

When adding vegetables, dice or chop as you prefer to eat them, whether large or small, it makes no difference (only to the cooking time - larger may take longer).

The amounts of each ingredient to use, depends upon how much broth you have to use and how many people you want to feed. So, use your own judgement.

Place the broth into the pot.

Dice or chop onion, carrot, potato and add to the broth.

Now, you'll be able to judge how much water you'll need. Make sure all ingredients are covered, making sure to add extra for some of the liquid to evaporate during cooking, so you'll have as much broth as you like to have with your soup, once it's cooked. It's really trial and error!

Add as much barley as you like; it takes some time to cook this and as it does, it puffs up, so it is still a 'guess' system for me, at this time. Just realize that if you add too much, you could end up with 'mush'. ;-))

Add the garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste.

Bring it to a boil (uncovered), then reduce the temperature to a simmer, and allow to cook for at least 30 minutes.

Then, add the pre-cooked (cut as you desire) beef. Cover and allow to simmer about an hour. If you feel it needs more time, then allow more time.

As you can see, nothing is written in stone, in this recipe! Truly, it's just trial and error. Try it for yourself! If you don't like the results, change something, for next time!

Most of all, enjoy your creation! If you try this for yourself, please let me know how you make out. Enjoy!

Until next time...