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Beef & Barley Soup

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HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
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    Posted: 24 May 2013 at 18:43
As promised, here is my recipe for Beef & Barley soup, adapted from Hannah Glasse's The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy.

I've been asked to explain the difference between "adapting" and "modernizing." When you modernize a recipe it often means changing ingredients and methods of cooking them. Adapting means keeping the recipe as true as possible while making it suitable for today's kitchens.

This is a good example. In Hannah Glasse's day, this soup would have been made with an entire leg of beef. Sometimes she'd give instructions for "smaller" quantities, such as using only 30 pounds of rump. Obviously, no modern family can use that quantity. So our job becomes one of using the same ingredients in reasonable quantities to create the same flavor profile.

In The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy,this recipe would have been called "To Make A Scotch Broth." But we've opted for the more familiar Beef & Barley Soup.

Beef & Barley Soup

2 1/2 lbs stewing meat, cubed
8 oz slab bacon, diced
1 cup pearled barley
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, sliced
2 celery ribs, sliced
1 bundle fresh sweet herbs or 2 tbls dried
4 quarts water
Salt and pepper to taste

In a soup kettle, over low heat, render the fat from the bacon. Remove he bacon and reserve. Brown the meat, in batches, in the bacon grease. Set meat aside. Saute the onions and carrots in remaining grease until onions are translucent. Return all the meat to the kettle, including the reserved bacon. Add water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, skimming any scum that forms, until meat is partially cooked and water has reduced by one third, about an hour.

Add the barley, celery, and sweet herbs. Continue cooking until meat is tender and barley softened, adding more water if necessary, about another 45-60 minutes. Remove herb bundle. Adjust seasonings.
4 quarts water
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 May 2013 at 09:27
Brook - thanks for posting such an easy, accessable historic recipe. Your description indicates that this is related to (or perhaps synonymous with) Scotch broth, which is another one that I've been wanting to try when I get some lamb. this looks delicious and is definitely on my "to do" list for a grey day. I'm thinking that it will be even better if I am able to use our family's beef and my own, home-made slab bacon that I plan to make this summer.
 
Interesting points on adapting vs. modernising historical recipes; as I recall, there was some discussion about this a while ago, and perhaps the concept is worth further discussion!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 May 2013 at 17:35
I found it interesting that Hannah Glasse uses beef for her Scotch Broth. Like you, I associate it with lamb.

It might be interesting to research when the change took place. Or maybe it doesn't represent a change; just different ways of making the same named dish?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 May 2013 at 08:11
   Sounds delicious!

   Boy oh boy...I hope someone reminds me about this one when fall hits!  With the weather finally breaking I'm only thinking bbq and grillin'  I think I'll actually put this in my Google Calendar for fall 2013, just to remind myself.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 May 2013 at 08:47
>>>It might be interesting to research when the change took place. Or maybe it doesn't represent a change; just different ways of making the same named dish?<<<
 
I'm guessing that you're correct, Brook - it could be that at some point, beef was all that was available at the time, and the recipe was dish was simply made with beef. As I recall, Colonial America had a thriving cattle industry ~
 
>>>...I hope someone reminds me about this one when fall hits!.... I think I'll actually put this in my Google Calendar for fall 2013, just to remind myself.<<<
 
Aye, same here, Dan I've got to try this. On your Google calendar, remind yourself to remind Ron, too!LOL
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 May 2013 at 09:03
Originally posted by TasunkaWitko TasunkaWitko wrote:


 
Aye, same here, Dan I've got to try this. On your Google calendar, remind yourself to remind Ron, too!LOL
 


   Lol, I'll add that LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tjkoko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2013 at 09:37
Originally posted by HistoricFoodie HistoricFoodie wrote:



Beef & Barley Soup

2 1/2 lbs stewing meat, cubed
8 oz slab bacon, diced
1 cup pearled barley
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, sliced
2 celery ribs, sliced
1 bundle fresh sweet herbs or 2 tbls dried
4 quarts water
Salt and pepper to taste



Okay, any opinions on the use of leeks for this recipe or would that not be authentic?
A foodie here. I know very little but the little that I know I know quite well.

best,
-T
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2013 at 17:03
without intending to speak for brook, i will opine that leeks should be very tasty, and would be at the very least plausible, if not totally authentic.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2013 at 23:08
Leeks were commonly used both in England and the American Colonies. So there's no reason to suppose they wouldn't be proper in a soup such as this.

My recipe happens to be "authentic" only in that it was taken from an 18th century cookbook, and follows it closely.

So, adding leeks (or subbing them for the onion) certainly would be authentic to the times.

On a different note, I certainly agree with Ron; leeks would be a tasty addition.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2013 at 08:09
A further note on variations.

In The London Art of Cookery, John Farley starts his Scotch Barley Broth essentially the same as Hannah Glass, albeit with changes in ingredient amounts. An hour before its done he adds a chicken to the pot. The soup is then served with the chicken in the center of the serving bowl.

He adds: "This broth is sometimes made with a sheep's head instead of a leg of beef." After partially cooking it he says, "Then put in the above ingredients (those of the basic broth), with turnips and carrots clean scraped and pared, and cut in little pieces."

A quarter century later, in The Virginia Housewife, Mary Randolph has this recipe for

Barley Soup

Put on three gills of barley, three quarts of water, a few onions cut up, six carrots scraped and cut into dice, an equal quantity of turnips, cut small; boil it gently two hours, then put in four or five ponds of the rack or neck of mutton, a few slices of lean ham, with pepper and salt; boil it slowly two hours loner and serve it up. Tomatos are an excellent addition to this soup.
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