Yeah, I went the easy way out on this one. Beef? Barley? Celery? Clearly that’s Beef Barley soup. I tried to think “out-of-the-box” to come up with something creative, but it just made me want a hearty soup even more. So, I gave into my cravings and prepared the soup.
This recipe was based upon one by the awesome Ina Garten. The husband and I were sharing our cut of beef, though, so I had to figure out how to prepare it using the beef roast instead of the oxtail. Most of the meat came out too dry as expected (also because I’m lousy at preparing beef). This dish to me is all about the soup and the barley, though, so I was fine with small bits of meat instead of big chunks.
I could have just thrown in some vinegar to complete the battle requirements, but I wanted to come up with SOMETHING creative. The first thing I thought of was sea salt and vinegar potato chips. Love them, but I figured they would disappear into the hot soup quickly. I also knew that the husband does not like to eat soups or stews without some bread to soak it up. I decided to create some breadsticks soaked in vinegar and sprinkled with salt, which would hopefully mimic the flavor of the chips, but keep the structure.
At the last minute, I remembered that I had some celery salt in the cabinet. This ingredient feels so old school to me, and I never use it. It seemed like the right choice to use the celery salt on the bread instead of the typical sea salt, and it worked out great!
The soup came out hearty and filling, just like a good winter soup should. The girl didn’t like hers (as expected), but she did try some, which is good. The husband and the boy really enjoyed it, and it made a perfect lunch for a cold winter’s day. The breadsticks soaked up the soup really well, and still kept their shape. You could totally taste the vinegar on them. The celery, not so much.
I really, really loved the barley bread that the husband made. At the last minute, I made some bread bowls out of the same batter, which also was a great way to serve the soup.
Beef Barley Soup with Celery Salt and Vinegar Breadsticks
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 lb beef roast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 4 stalks celery, diced
- 2 leeks, chopped (white and light green parts only)
- 1-1/2 cups baby carrots, diced
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 5 sprigs thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 cups beef stock
- 1/2 cup cola
- 1 cup pearled barley
Rub the salt and pepper into the beef roast. In a Dutch oven, heat the oil. Add the beef roast, and brown on all sides. Place the pot into a 500 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove the beef from the pot and cut up into large cubes. Set aside.
Return the Dutch oven to the stove. Add the celery, leeks, carrots, onion and garlic to the pot and cook in the beef juices over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are browned. Add the thyme and bay leaves. Put the beef back into the pot with the beef stock and cola. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer for one hour. Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Skim off fat.
While the the soup is cooking, add two cups of water to another pot and bring to a boil. Add the barley and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Pour all of the barley, including remaining cooking water, into the Dutch oven with the soup. Continue to heat the soup with barley for another 30 minutes.
For the Celery Salt and Vinegar Breadsticks
- 2 loaves naan (Indian flatbread)
- 2 Tbsp vinegar (I used champagne vinegar)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp celery salt
Brush the naan with vinegar and olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. Bake at 500 degrees for 15 minutes, or until browned. Serve with the soup.
For the Barley Breadbowl, check out the husband's battle post!