There is nothing more comforting and satisfying on a cold, wet day than a bowl of thick, chunky beef soup and a warm buttered roll to accompany it …..mmm …..mmm. I have cooked this soup many times and I think barley or pasta (fine shapes or alphabets) goes well with it. I decided to go with the barley this time.

For such soups, I like to use my very well seasoned cast iron pot, which is quite non-stick by now. I really enjoy cooking with cast iron and it gets better the more I use it. They are so good for slow cooking on the stove or for browning meats and then finishing the dish in the oven. I think the food is more moist and flavorful as all the “goodness” remain in the pot.

There are probably hundreds of versions of this soup out there, but this is what I did this weekend and it tasted yummy and very satisfying.

Ro-Ri’s Chunky Beef Soup
1½ lbs beef stew meat
¼ cup hulled barley, rinsed and drained
2 sticks celery, diced
2 medium sized carrots, diced
2 red potatoes, peeled and diced
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 tsp minced garlic
½ tsp dried oregano
½ dried basil
1 tsp (or cube) beef bouillon
2 tbsp canola oil
salt and pepper to taste

Brown meat in a heavy 4 ½ qt cast iron pot with 2 tbsp oil. Push meat to one side of the pot with spatula, add diced celery, carrots, onions, and garlic. Sauté vegetables until tender. Add oregano, basil and pepper. Stir to mix all meat and vegetables together. Add barley, canned diced tomatoes and water to the pot till about ¾ full. Let it come to a boil, seasoned with salt, and let it simmer for 1 hour. Add diced potatoes, and simmer for another 30 to 40 minutes.