Hye Thyme Cafe: Do as I Say, Not as I Do Beef and Barley Soup

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Do as I Say, Not as I Do Beef and Barley Soup

Beef and Barley Soup : Hye Thyme Cafe

The reason I titled this Do as I Say, Not as I Do is only because of the coloring. While standing at my spice drawer wondering what I wanted to include in this soup, I felt a twinge in my back. Having been mangled in a car accident back in 87', I should have stopped right there and popped some Advil or something. Yup, just standing at an odd angle is enough to do me in some days! And, of course, the only available stock pot at the time was a 600 lb Le Creuset. So, rather than spending the few extra minutes to add things in stages, I threw all the veggies in at once. I would have preferred to at least hold back on the broccoli and asparagus. As you can see from the color, they are "well done." I prefer a bright green crisp-tender.

1 T olive oil
1 lb beef, diced *
3 bay leaves
1 t smoked paprika
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1 beef bouillon cube
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 med red onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced (include the leafy tops)
1/2 orange bell pepper, diced
1 lg carrot, diced
1/2 c fresh chopped parsley
1 broccoli stalk, florets removed - stem diced
1/4 lb thin asparagus stalks, chopped
32 oz beef broth
1 c pearled barley

* I wasn't sure what I wanted to use for the beef when I headed to the market. I was thinking I would probably pick up some cubed stew meat and quarter the pieces so you could get a little in every spoonful. While perusing the selection of available beef products, I saw a package of "stir fry" beef strips. That cinched it for me. I decided to buy that and use a pair of kitchen shears to snip the strips into smaller pieces. When it comes to browning the beef, as I mentioned, the pot I was using was a Le Creuset - a VERY heavy enameled pot that does not lend itself well to browning. I'm sure your soup will turn out equally delicious and a lot prettier that this batch.  :)

Over med-high heat, brown the beef in the olive oil, seasoning with salt and pepper along the way, adding the bay leaves to the pot when the beef starts to render down any fat and release some liquid.

Add the cayenne pepper, paprika, and bouillon cube (or powder/paste), stirring well to coat the beef and let the bouillon melt down.

Next add the garlic and onion. Here's where the aroma will start to get to you, so inhale deeply and smile.

Once that aroma hits home, you can start adding in your other veggies. As I mentioned above, if not for my back, I would have stuck around to do this in stages - first the onion and celery, a few minutes later the bell pepper and carrots, then the barley - followed later by the asparagus, broccoli and parsley. As it was, I added all of the veggies here, stirring to coat with the beef drippings and garlic.

Beef and Barley Soup : Hye Thyme Cafe

Then stirred in the barley and broth, letting the pot come to a boil, then reducing to a simmer until the barley was tender.

Beef and Barley Soup : Hye Thyme Cafe

Beef and Barley Soup : Hye Thyme Cafe

Beef and Barley Soup : Hye Thyme Cafe

Beef and Barley Soup : Hye Thyme Cafe


  1. Looks yummy!! Hope your back is feeling better!!

    1. Thanks, and not yet, but that might be feeling tension from listening to this debate between Obama/Romney. Yet again, there's a lot of talking going on, but not a lot of actually answering the questions being asked. I would like to nominate Big Bird at this point and ditch both of them! ;)


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