Beef Barley Soup with Lemon
Pairs Well With
1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
1 teaspoon black pepper, more as needed
2 tablespoons olive oil, more as needed
3 small or 2 large leeks, thinly sliced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 fennel bulb, diced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
— Large pinch cayenne, optional
1 quart beef or chicken stock
3 sage sprigs, 2 rosemary sprigs, 2 bay leaves
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 large turnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 cups pearled barley
8 ounces baby spinach or baby kale
Season beef with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Let mixture stand for 30 minutes to 1 hour at room temperature.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add meat and cook in batches, turning occasionally, until well browned, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Drizzle in additional oil if the pan seems dry. Transfer the browned meat to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.
Add leek, celery, fennel and garlic to the pan; cook until soft, about 7 minutes, adjusting the heat if necessary to prevent burning. Push the vegetables to one side, and, if t! he pan looks dry, add a bit more oil. Add tomato paste and spices to the cleared spot and cook until tomato paste is darkened and caramelized, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir together vegetables and tomato paste.
Return meat to the pot. Pour in stock and 8 cups water. Using kitchen string, tie sage, rosemary and bay leaves into a bundle and drop into pot. Bring the liquid to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, partly covered, for 1 hour.
Stir in the carrots, parsnips, turnips, barley, 1 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer until barley is cooked through and meat is tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour more. Pull herb bunch from pot and discard.
Stir spinach and parsley into pot until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes (kale may take a few minutes longer), then stir in lemon zest and juice. If soup is too thick, thin it with a little water. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.