Soup is the perfect winter meal, and, let’s be honest, there is nothing quite like winter in Minnesota. Some are snowier than others, some longer than others – but they are always cold. Especially the last week of January. It really isn’t as bad as it’s hyped up to be. True Minnesotans find ways to deal with it – and heartwarming dinners are one way to make it a little easier to handle.
This beef barley soup is filled with flavor and doesn’t need to be cooked all day, which makes it a great weeknight dinner. I love the flavor combination of the thyme, shallots, sherry and portobello mushrooms. They add a rich depth to the soup – perfect to warm you up on a cold winter night. And the barley is a great way to add whole grains to your menu. (Note the resolution I am working on: more variety in grains!) Don’t have any mushrooms on hand? Pop open a can of diced tomatoes instead. It’s pretty easy to tailor it to your palette.
Add some popovers and a salad, and you have a fabulous, well-rounded dinner that came together in a snap. And it helps take the chill out of winter. So until global warming takes over and makes winters here a little warmer and a little shorter, I’ll stick to soup and a warm winter vacation!