Look canned soup....it not me, it you! Vegetable beef barley, get outta that can and into my pan!

March 26th 2013


IMG_4350We've all done it....I was basically raised on the stuff, you might still have a can or two in the pantry right now...(horror movie suspense music..dun dun dun!) Canned soup! Those chubby lil' Campbell's soup kids staring at you...so cute, nothing unsavory could be lurking in that aluminium can...right? Wrong. In September 2012 a cancer advocacy group released a study that found Campbell's soup cans to have the highest levels of BPA's then any other soup brand. BPA (bisphenol A), a commonly used additive in food packaging, mimics human estrogen and is thought by some health advocates to be harmful to health, after a great deal of consumer backlash, Campbell's never admitting any wrong doing, begrudgingly took BPA out of the can linings. Now if that isn't enough for you let's consider the sodium and quality issues....if you buy your own ingredients, you control what you and your family eat. Less processing means healthier and more nutrient dense product. Now if you know how to can at home this would be a great recipe to do that with...keep in your pantry and heat and eat your own soup anytime! The pan I made was so popular with my family that I didn't have any left to store, kids love this soup! This recipe can also be altered for all diets with a change up in proteins or vegetables, I was chatting with a vegan mom on the playground the other day and we were discussing how in other cultures meat is condiment not the focus of a meal, this recipe is a great example of that concept. Shall we begin? I think we shall.
Mise en Place:

1lb lean ground beef, preferably natural 1lb lean ground beef, preferably natural

brown in a large pan brown in a large pan

1 cup each frozen vegetables (here I have corn, beans, green garbanzo beans, and some carrots) 1 cup each frozen vegetables (here I have corn, beans, green garbanzo beans, and some carrots)
I will use frozen vegetables for some things...they are harvested at their peak and if you buy the organic variety they are full of nutrients.
the aromatics!  Always use raw on these...I usually include carrots as well but I had some frozen ones I wanted to use up. the aromatics! Always use raw on these...I usually include carrots as well but I had some frozen ones I wanted to use up.

shallot, celery hearts, garlic, fresh thyme, and a tbsp of dried Italian seasoning.  About 1 1/2 cups for the aromatics shallot, celery hearts, garlic, fresh thyme, and a tbsp of dried Italian seasoning. About 1 1/2 cups for the aromatics
add these in when your beef has browned
Beef and aromatics Beef and aromatics
1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 large potato (I like the starchiness of russet for this)IMG_4343next in the mix goes your frozen veggies and a quart of good beef stock, or veggie, as long as its a good quality most varieties should work. Add your pre-cooked pearl barley (put 1 cup of barley in a rice cooker with 3 cups of water, I also like to add a few tablespoons of dried porcini mushrooms to add depth and flavor, also you could use porcini as your "meat" flavor if you wanna make this vegetarian)
Plate of pearl barley cooked with dried porcini, and a bag of dried pearl barley Plate of pearl barley cooked with dried porcini, and a bag of dried pearl barley
simmer soup for twenty minutes or so. Turn off the heat and add the "toppins"
"toppins" 1/2 cup frozen peas, and 4 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley.  Add these at the end to keep the lovely green color "toppins" 1/2 cup frozen peas, and 4 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley. Add these at the end to keep the lovely green color
viola!  Delicious, healthy, try it you'll love it! viola! Delicious, healthy, try it you'll love it!

IMG_4348Makes about 10 servings and as always use this technique to create your own favorites! This was the classic I wanted to upcycle and I'm sure if you try this you will have great results! Kick them Campbell's kids to the curb!