I made this soup for part of the Platinum Chef Challenge (post to follow) and thought I was being all creative with it... turns out Beef Barley soup is a common thing... ah well! I made it sans recipe and with some platinum twists and LOVED it. SO good! Ryan had two helpings :) I would make it again, for sure (once the extra servings in the freezer are gone ;) )
Beef Barley Soup
1 cup pearl barley
1 can chickpeas
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups stock (I used a combination of beef and chicken - 4 and 2 - have extra on hand to add as needed)
8 ounces butternut in bite sized pieces
about 1.5 to 2 pounds of strips of beef (I forget what cut mine it... bought in bulk and frozen for fajitas)
In a medium stockpot, bring 2.5 cups of water with a pinch of salt to a boil. Add barley, lower heat and simmer stirring occasionally for 45 minutes or until done (tender, most or all water absorbed). Set aside.
In a large stockpot, heat 2 T olive oil over medium high. Add can of drained chickpeas and 1 tablespoon of ground cumin. Cook for a couple minutes, stirring occasionally. When chickpeas start to slightly brown, add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally for another 5 min until onions are soft and browning.
Add Stock. Dump in barley. Add butternut. Lower heat to a slow simmer.
Meanwhile in a large frying pan, heat a tsp or 2 of olive oil over medium high heat. Season beef with kosher salt and cumin. Add beef to hot pan and cook about 15 min, turning. Outside should have a nice crust (not burned) so let it sit to develop and mine was medium. Pull from heat and cut into bite sized pieces (I like bigger chunks of meat myself).
Add pieces of beef to soup, and a bag of baby spinach. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer to soften spinach and serve!