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French Onion Soup with Beef & Barley

Chock-full of fiber-rich barley, this French onion soup is a tasty variation on the classic. You can omit the sherry or replace it with white wine if you wish.

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 ounce dried shitake mushrooms
  • Tablespoon dark sesame oil, divided
  • Medium onions, each cut into 8 wedges
    (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots or onion
  • 2 teaspoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 (12-ounce) lean boneless sirloin steak, cut into 2-inch strips
  • 4 cups water
  • 2/3 cup uncooked pearl barley
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 (10 1/2-ounce) can beef consomme
  • 12 (1/4-inch-thick) slices diagonally cut French bread baquette
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded Gruyere or Swiss Cheese
  1. Combine boiling water and shiitakes in a bowl; cover and let stand 30 minutes. Drain the shiitakes in a colander over a bowl, reserving liquid. Slice shiitakes, discarding stems.

  2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large Dutch oven over medium- high heat. Add onion, shallots, ginger, and garlic; saute 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the shiitakes, button mushrooms, sugar and beef. Saute 10 minutes, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add reserved mushroom liquid, 4 cups water, and the next 4 ingredients (water through consomme); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 50 minutes or until barley is tender. Stir in 1 teaspoon sesame oil.

  3. Preheat broiler.

  4. Ladle 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 6 ovenproof soup bowls; top each serving with 2 bread slices and 2 tablespoons cheese. Broil 3 inches from heat 1 minute or until cheese melts. Serve immediately.

Yield: 6 servings.

COOKING LIGHT~ Cooking Class ~ January, February 2000


We believe soup is inherently therapeutic...warming the mind and soul as well as the body. Enjoy!


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