Monday, January 12, 2009

Hamburger, Vegetable and Barley Soup

I'm a soup girl. Especially during fall and winter months. There's just something about a steaming mug of warm goodness on a cold, wet day.

Eating soup isn't just comforting--it's also consistent with living a nutritionally healthy lifestyle. Okay, maybe not a cream- or cheese-laden varieties. But mixtures with lots of vegetables, limited fat and sodium, and with low glycemic-index carbohydrates are.

Did you know that eating soup helps reduce your overall caloric intake during that meal? Think of it this way: having a bowl or mug of soup before your supper entree will lengthen the amount of time you're eating. We've all been told that it takes the brain about 20 minutes to get the signal that you're full. By slowing down, having some soup and then tucking into that dinner plate, you're giving your brain that chance--before you hit a 2nd helping.

Soup also freezes and reheats well, saves money by stretching your leftovers into another meal, and provides quality protein, fiber, vitamins and antioxidants.

There's really no reason not to enjoy it all winter long.

We've been having lots of snow and below-zero weather here lately, so the mood for hot, homemade, good-for-me soup was strong. After poking around my freezer today, this delicious (and large) batch of soup emerged just in time for lunch. Made from less than a pound of ground beef, pantry staples and frozen veggies, and ready in under an hour, this recipe is going into regular rotation.

Hamburger, Vegetable and Barley Soup
serves 6 to 8

extra virgin olive oil or canola oil for frying
3/4 to 1-pound ground beef

2 small onions, chopped (about 1/4 cup)

3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped (about 1/4 cup)
2 15-ounce cans low-sodium beef broth

1 28-ounce can peeled whole tomatoes, cut up into small pieces
28 ounces water

1/2 cup barley
kosher salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon dried sage

pinch dried thyme

pinch smoked paprika

2 cups frozen spinach

1 cup
frozen green beans, or other vegetable as desired

Cook ground beef in a very little bit of oil until lightly browned. Add onion, garlic and carrots and saute until onions are soft. Add broth, tomatoes, water, barley, salt, pepper, parsley, sage, thyme and paprika (taste as you go to determine how much salt--I added a good couple of teaspoons by the end).

Cover and bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until barley is tender (about 15 minutes). Stir in spinach and green beans. Re-cover and bring to a boil. Taste and correct seasoning.

Cool slightly before serving.


Sara said...

This sounds great, I love barley, especially in soup!

Amanda said...

Thanks, Sara. I do, too. Even my husband loved it.

What a great profile picture of you with M.C.! He's one of my favorite tv chefs.

Sam said...

This looks like a delicious soup Amanda, perfect for keeping the cold out!

Amanda said...

Thanks, Sam!

Mary said...

It's 1 degree outside and that soup looks delicious!

Amanda said...

Brr, Mary! It's really cold here, too--a good day for soup! :)

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