Why This Recipe Works This soup is hearty enough for dinner, so the idea of making it in the blender held great appeal. First, we focused on building a beefy broth without browning the beef in a skillet to create a fond that would infuse the soup with flavor when deglazed. Instead we turned to a potent combo of umami-packed mushrooms and tomato paste plus onion and garlic, which we bloomed in the microwave. Our base assembled, we simply added it to the blender along with beef broth, soy sauce (a test kitchen trick for adding beefy flavor), and chopped carrot for vegetal sweetness. We selected the chunky soup program because we knew we’d want to add thinly sliced beef after the preheating phase so it would cook through but not become pulverized. We used top sirloin because it is so lean and did not make the soup greasy. For the barley, a judicious ¼ cup of quick-cooking barley fit the bill and we added it along with the beef. Be sure to use quick-cooking (sometimes labeled “quick-cooking pearled”) or pre-steamed barley, which has been partially cooked during processing to reduce its cooking time.
- 4 ounces cremini mushrooms trimmed and quartered
- 1 small onion cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tsp minced fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp dried
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 3 cups beef broth
- 1 carrot peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 8 oz top sirloin steak trimmed and cut into ¼-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup quick-cooking barley
- 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
- Microwave mushrooms, onion, tomato paste, oil, garlic, thyme, and pepper in bowl, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to Ace blender along with broth, carrot, and soy sauce. Lock lid in place, then select Soup Program 1 (for chunky soups).
- Pause program once preheating ends (countdown timer will display 20 minutes). Carefully remove lid and stir in steak and barley. Return lid and resume program. Once program has completed, season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle individual portions with parsley and serve.