I found myself with leftover Christmas beef tenderloin, even after forcing to-go plates on family. To be honest, I overcooked the beef. It would be best used in a recipe where it could be re-hydrated, like soup or stew. I thought about vegetable beef soup but finally settled on a rustic beef and barley soup. It was a good call. The kick this soup gets from the garlic and thyme adds depth of flavor to the otherwise bland ingredients. This recipe is perfect for using leftover beef roast or even steak. If I were making this without pre-cooked beef, I would chop beef chuck into medium pieces, sear it in olive oil, and cook it along with the barley, which takes 45 minutes to an hour. Since the meat was already cooked, I added it towards the end so as not to dry it out any further. It was perfect!
While in my basement photo studio plating and tasting the soup, I got creative and added shards of aged Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Oh. My. Goodness. Soup perfection. It is a wonder I had any left to photograph. But, this is dinner, so I stopped tasting. I’ll thank myself at dinnertime. This would be even better served with my herb focaccia bread, and there is time to make it before dinner too.
- 6 ounces leftover beef, cubed
- 1½ cup pearled barley
- 32 ounce package beef stock (not beef flavored stock)
- 2 - 3 large cloves garlic, pressed
- 1 medium sweet yellow onion, diced
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 large carrot, diced
- ¼ cup tomato ketchup
- ½ cup frozen green peas
- Dash of gravy browning liquid like Kitchen Bouquet or Gravy Magic for color
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Fresh Chopped Parsley
- To a large pot add two cups water, one cup beef stock and the pearled barley. Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to low. Add the garlic, onion and thyme. Cook on low heat for 45 to 60 minutes until the barley is cooked but still has a little chew to it. Add additional beef stock, one cup at a time as the liquid is absorbed. Do not add more water. The final flavor should come from the beef stock. Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Add the carrots and ketchup and cook until the carrots are just tender, not mushy. Add the beef, frozen peas, browning liquid, salt, pepper and fresh parsley. Cook an extra minute or two. Serve piping hot with cheese shards if you like. Make sure you have bread for dunking. Enjoy!