Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Hamburger Soup

I know, you're thinking "how is this healthy"? Not only is it healthy, it's delicious!

Cook: 1 1/4 hours
Yield: 8 servings
- 1.5 lbs lean ground beef
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 can 28 oz. diced tomatoes, undrained
- 3 cans low sodium beef broth
- 1 cup water
- 4 celery ribs, thinly sliced
- 4 large carrots, thinly sliced
- 10 whole peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup quick-cooking barley***
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
In a large saucepan (a Dutch oven is great if you have one), cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomatoes, broth, and water. Add celery and carrots.
Place peppercorns on a double thickness of cheesecloth**; bring up corners of cloth and tie with kitchen string to form a bag. Add to beef mixture.
Stir in thyme and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender.Return to a boil. Stir in barley. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until barley is tender. Remove from the heat; stir in parsley. Let stand for 5 minutes. Discard spice bag.
***I couldn't find quick cooking barley at my store. Instead, I soaked regular barley in the beef broth the night before. It cooked up perfect that way, and the regular barley is really inexpensive, an added bonus!
***I realized half way through making this that I was out of cheesecloth. I let the peppercorns float on the top, and pulled them out towards the end. This was more than a little time consuming. Next time, I'll put fresh cracked pepper in, and skip it.

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