The only time I lack confidence in the kitchen is when I'm trying to re-create a dish that I remember from my childhood. I know how I would do things, but I'm sure that's not how my mom did them. So yesterday, when I was craving the beef and barley soup of my childhood, I had to consult with my mom first because I wanted to get it just the way I remembered it. I assumed I would have to brown the meat first but the soup was ridiculously simple. Take flanken, marrow bones, carrots, celery, onions, rehydrated dried mushrooms with their soaking liquid (minus the grit) and a can of beef broth and dump it all in a pot. Then fill it with enough water to cover the meat and bones. Keep it covered at a low simmer for 2 hours. Skim the fat, season it, add the barley and continue to simmer for 1 more hour. The smell is amazing. Just what you want to waft through your house on a cold fall Sunday. The beauty of the soup is that once it's done cooking, you can pull the marrow bones and the flanken out and serve them on the side. Serve the flanken with horseradish and the marrow bones with toast and coarse salt. The soup becomes the main course and you get a side of all the goodies that cooked in it.
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