The few days we've had of lovely, mild, rainy weather came screeching (or, should I say, howling) to a halt last night, as a cold front blew into our neighbourhood, waking us all from our slumbers and causing the picture frames on all our outside walls to rattle. The temperature dropped like a bomb, sending our thermometer from 7 degrees ABOVE zero, to a wind-chill of 25 below. And while that may sound like nothin' to those of you in the Prairies (I know who you are, and may God help you all), it is a rawther sudden and significant climate-change for those of us here in Ontari-ari-ario.
While it is all too true that there is nothing I love more to warm me up on a cold winter's day than a snuggle with a little girlie (or three)... there is nothing I enjoy eating more on a day like today than a bowl of hearty, piping-hot soup.
THIS soup, my friends, is a beauty. It has the makings of a meal in one single bowl, and is wonderful served at dinnertime, with a glass of red wine and a hunk of fresh bread, in front of the fireplace. Sprinkle the top with a handful of grated old cheddar cheese, and you're in for a treat.
Here is the recipe for what is currently simmering away in my crock pot this afternoon, and filling the house up with rich, mouth-watering scents... Is it dinnertime yet???
(so-named, because I always serve it for lunch on Christmas Day)
1 1/2 lbs extra lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped finely
1 28 oz can of tomatoes
2 c water
3 cans of consomme
1 can of tomato soup
4 carrots, chopped finely
1 bay leaf
3 stalks of celery, chopped finely
1/2 tsp thyme
fresh ground pepper to taste
8 tbsp pot barley
In a large skillet, brown the ground beef, and add the chopped onions. Cook, while stirring, until the onions become soft and translucent.
Combine all of the other ingredients in a large pot (or crock pot). Then add the onion and beef mixture.
Simmer, covered, for at least two hours... or better yet, all day.
This soup freezes beautifully, and actually tastes even better after it has been frozen and re-heated. Add a little more water when re-heating, just to "soup it up" a bit. The barley tends to absorb quite a bit of fluid!!
Soup's on, everybody. Be warm!