This is a hearty soup. Serve with crusty bread and a tossed salad for the perfect meal! Variation: Instead of finishing the soup with sour cream and dill, ladle into ovenproof bowls. Place a slice or two of a baguette in each bowl. Sprinkle liberally with shredded swiss cheese and broil for 2 to 3 minutes.
- 1 (14 g) package dried wild mushrooms, such as porcini
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 8 ounces stewing beef, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1⁄2 cup pearl barley, rinsed
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 6 cups beef broth
- sour cream
- fresh dill, finely chopped
- In a heatproof bowl, soak dried mushrooms in boiling water for 30 minutes, then strain through a fine sieve, reserving liquid. Chop mushrooms finely and set aside.
- In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add beef and cook, stirring, until lightly browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to slow cooker.
- Add onions, celery and carrots to pan and cook, stirring until softened. Add garlic, salt, peppercorns, thyme and bay leaf and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add barley and stir until coated. Stir in tomato paste, beef broth and reserved mushroom liquid and bring to a boil. Transfer to slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Discard bay leaf. Ladle into bowls and garnish with sour cream and dill.