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Posts Tagged ‘delicious soup’

ChillyTemps_1842

-22°C is -7.6°F (wind chill: -38°C is -38.4°F)

We had some very cold weather in December and I know some of my dear readers are experiencing some very hot weather — I can’t say which I prefer more, but at least one can put a few more layers on in the cold, not much you can take off after you’ve taken it all off in the heat (or maybe that was a vision we didn’t need!). To help combat the chill over the holidays, I made a big batch of beef barley soup which we had for a lunch and then froze the remainder for quickie servings in the future; it’s always easier to eat healthful if you are armed with healthy food.

BeefBarleySoup_1846

A thick soup flavoured with lots of mushrooms and chunks of beef

Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sweet onions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup or 3 stalks celery, cubed
  • 3 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1 L Low Sodium beef stock
  • 5-7 dried  “fa goo” Chinese mushrooms, sliced (hydrated but save the liquid and strain it through a fine sieve)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 1″ sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
  • 400 g cubed beef (relatively small)
  • 1 1/4 cup sherry
  • 1-2 tsp canola oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • water, if necessary

Directions:

  1. Allow the beef cubes to come to room temperature. Preheat the slow cooker on high.
  2. Add 1-2 tsp canola oil to a hot cast iron dutch oven and brown the beef on all sides. Add to the slow cooker pot.
  3. In the same dutch oven, cook the onions until translucent, then add the garlic until fragrant. Stir in the pearl barley and toast for a few moments. Pour into the slow cooker with the beef. Add the beef stock to the slow cooker and give it a good stir.
  4. Deglaze the dutch oven with the sherry and add it to the slow cooker and add the bay leaf, thyme and finely chopped rosemary. Cook for 4-6 hours on low temperature or 3-4 hours on high.
  5. For the final hour, add the sliced hydrated mushrooms and the strained mushroom stock and give it a good stir.
  6. After the final hour, test the barley for doneness and soup for thickness, should you want a slightly less thick soup, add more water.
  7. Remove the bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper and serve with a dollop of fat free Greek Yogurt and a sprig of rosemary.
  8. Cool leftovers completely and pour into plastic containers for freezing.
BeefBarleySoup_1843

A nice dollop of fat free Greek Yogurt is always a nice addition. Of course the crostini with brie never hurts either!

Although December and January were very cold, in late January and early February we were bombarded with snow. A lot of snow, all at once. I know other parts of the world get snow, but this is a lot for us, particularly those of us living in the city with smaller lots which means we have a really hard time finding the space to shovel the snow off the sidewalks and driveways! Enjoy the photos below and just be grateful you didn’t have to shovel it.

Feb5Snow_2041

This snow mound is just about 1 metre high (39″)

Feb5Snow_2040

You can see how high the snow is piled from our gorgeous little tree!

Feb5Snow_2042

These are our Rose of Sharon ‘trees’. They are about 3 metres (10 feet) tall, but they just look like shrubs with the snow piled up to their canopy!

 

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Harira

This is a traditional Moroccan soup, with many variations. I really liked the ingredients from Epicurious, with some minor alterations based on the reviews (love the reviews). I made this a day in advance so the flavours could really meld. Click on the heading to link to the original recipe. This soup reminded me very much of Mulligatawny, and was equally as flavourful. I am looking forward to ordering this soup in Morocco to see whether my version was authentic.

Harira a traditional Morocca Soup

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 4 cups water, I held off, adding after for desired consistency
  • a 28-to 32-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and puréed coarsely
  • 1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 cups canned chick-peas, rinsed, hulls removed
  • 1/4 cup raw long-grain rice (I used brown rice)
  • 1/2 cup dried lentils
  • salt to taste
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

Directions:

  1. Soak the saffron threads in the chicken stock for about 20 minutes (you get more flavour out of them).
  2. In a heavy kettle (at least 5 quarts) sauté onions, carrots and celery until tender and dust with cumin and coriander and sauté only until you smell the spice.
  3. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, saffron, chick-peas, rice and lentils and simmer covered for 30 minutes, or until lentils and rice are tender.
  4. I took half the soup and puréed it to a smooth and velvety finish and then poured it back into the chunky soup. It made for a really delicious thick vegetable soup, add water to achieve the desired consistency.
  5. Soup may be prepared 4 days ahead (cool uncovered before chilling covered).
  6. Garnish with chopped cilantro and parsley, drizzle with EVOO

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