Nutrition experts say we should eat more whole grains: barley, brown rice, buckwheat (also called bulgar), oatmeal, popcorn, and whole grains. Whole grains provide fiber, a requirement for good health, and are a good source of complex carbohydrates.
“Whole Grains: Hearty Options for a Healthy Diet,” published on the Mayo Clinic website, defines whole grains as plant seeds. Mayo Clinic recommends whole grains over refined grains. It also recommends “at least 3 grams of fiber per day.” Unfortunately, many Americans fall far short of this recommendation.
Hy-Vee Grocery Stores discuss the preparation, storage and nutritional value of barley in a website article “Barley”. Whole barley, also known as Scots barley, is better for you because it “has intact bran, which is the most nutritious part of the grain,” according to the website. Pearl barley, on the other hand, has been steamed and polished, a process that removes both the bran and fibers. To prevent barley from going rancid, Hy-Vee recommends storing it in a sealed container and in a cool, dry place away from air, moisture, and sunlight.
Many cooks are unfamiliar with barley and, when they buy it, only use it in soups. There are more uses for barley. The book The Healthy Cook, published by Prevention Magazine, includes recipes for barley pilaf, rissoto, moussaka, stuffing, and soup. While I like beef barley soup, I find many recipes call for too much barley. The result is stroup, my word for soup, which is so thick you don’t know if it’s soup or stew.
I upgraded the basic soup recipe with ball point steak. The recipe calls for quick barley (the pearled variety), and while it’s slightly less fiber, it’s still five grams per 1/3-cup serving. You can use whole barley instead of barley, but check the cooking time on the package first. Mushrooms and carrots provide additional fiber. I hope you enjoy this recipe and make barley a part of your journey to good health.
Steak Mushroom Barley Soup
2 tablespoons light olive oil
10 ounces ball point steak, diced
8-ounce box of sliced mushrooms
3/4 cup pre-shredded carrots
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
3 tablespoons salt-free soup base
1/2 cup quick barley
2 teaspoons dried basil
3 liters of water
Pour olive oil into the soup kettle. Sear the steak over high heat until the cubes begin to brown. Add sliced mushrooms and continue cooking until mushrooms are soft. Add grated carrots, onion soup mix, soup base, barley, basil and water. Cover and simmer on low heat for 1 hour. Makes 8 servings. This soup tastes even better the next day.
Thanks to Harriet Hodgson