A Few of My Favorite Things

Soup and Television.

Thanks to all of you who left supportive comments about my potentially giving up television. Here's the thing I neglected to mention: I love TV. I don't watch that much, but what I do watch, I love. It's only between the hours of 9:30 and 11 pm and I never watch commercials (thanks to my trusty DVR). I don't have many vices. I don't drink or smoke or buy handbags or shoes or expensive clothing (not that I could even if I wanted to). I don't even read trashy novels. But I love TV. A good sitcom can be the difference between going to bed completely wrecked from the day and falling asleep laughing. A serial drama captures my attention and takes me away from the stack of bills. Would I get more done with out it? Sure. Would I read more? Sleep more? Probably. Does any of that matter to me? I think you can probably guess the answer at this point.

In honor of autumn, I'm excited to be participating in the Soup Swap over at Turkey Cookies. Is there anything more quintessentially autumnal than slow cooked soups and stews? I think not. My recipe for this week is my mother's Bean and Barley Soup.

The ingredients: (I should warn you here that the amounts in this recipe are iffy. My
mother never wrote this down and as I'm sure many of you do when making
your family recipes 'wings it'.)

Ingredients

2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley, 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill, 1/4 cup dried small lima beans, 1/4 cup dried pearled barley, 6 oz. bag of dried bean mixture (my mom uses Manischewitz — usually in the ethnic food aisle of the supermarket, I used a generic supermarket package that said '16-bean soup mix') 1 yellow onion roughly chopped, 2 peeled carrots sliced thickly, 1 leek (I throw it in halved and remove it after it gets gooey), 2 stalks celery thickly chopped, seasonings (I just use salt and pepper) and flanken

Flanken is just short ribs cut lengthwise. It is commonly used in slow-cooked meals, is usually boiled and for this recipe can easily be replaced with plain old short ribs. Here I have both. (The flanken is in the front.)

Flanken

Also, I can not handle boiling meat. It grosses me out. I love this soup when my mother makes it but when I'm making it I must braise the meat first. I'm going to relay this recipe the way my mother told it to me.

Season the meat and place in a large dutch oven over high heat. Cover completely with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and skim off fat. Add all of the other ingredients except the parsley and add additional water to cover. Season again. Bring to a boil again and then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until desired consistency. Add parsley and serve. This soup is best served on day two or three.

Do you have favorite soup or other slow-cooked recipes that you make every autumn? Head over to Jessica's to swap them there!