Beef and Barley Soup and Pumpkin Buns

Tough day at work.  What’s the best thing to do for that?  Come home and cook!

I love the way cooking a new and complex dish helps me to forget the day and feel better about life.  The beef and barley soup was borrowed from a recipe by Martha Stewart.  It has a true depth of flavor and was very hearty!  The pumpkins buns were fluffy and delicious.  They do not have a very heavy and sweet pumpkin flavor.  Instead, they had just a hint of pumpkin.  When they came out of the oven, the butter and brown sugar mixture was bubbly and syrupy.  So delicious.  They were so good, that I woke up early the next morning to bake the other tray for my co-workers.  I felt ridiculous carrying a tray of food into work wrapped in towels so I wouldn’t burn myself, but my co-workers positive feedback made it well worth it.  I hope you enjoy both recipes!


Beef and Barley Soup

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living Magazine

2 Tbsp Olive oil

1 Lb  London broil, cut into 3/4 inch cubes (season with salt and pepper)

1 Large onion, chopped

2 Shallots, chopped

1 Carrot, chopped

8 Oz. baby bella mushrooms

2 Tbsp minced garlic

2 Tbsp tomato paste

3/4 Dry red wine

5 Cups chicken stock

3 Cups water

3/4 Cup barley, rinsed and drained

Parsley and Parmesan, to garnish

Heat olive oil in a dutch oven, and cook beef (approximately 5-7 minutes).  Transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon.  Reduce the heat to medium, and add more olive oil.  Cook the onion, shallot, carrots, and mushrooms until golden (approximately 12-15 minutes).  Add garlic and tomato paste and cook down.  Remove from the heat, and add red wine (scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot).  Cook until mixture is reduced by half.

Add the beef back to the pot, along with the stock, water and barely.  Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for approximately 1.25 hours.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Finish with chopped parsley and grated parmesan.

Pumpkin Buns

Recipe taken from

1 Envelope of active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water (100-110 degrees)

1 Tsp + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar

2 Eggs

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 Can solid packed pumpkin (15 oz.)

5 1/2 Cups all purpose flour

3/4 Tsp salt


1/2 Cup unsalted butter, softened

1/4 Cup granulated sugar

1 Cup packed light brown sugar

1 Tbsp cinnamon


2 Cups confectioner’s sugar

3 Tbsp milk

Sprinkle yeast over warm water in a large bowl.  Add 1 tsp of the granulated sugar; let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.  Beat in remaining 2 tbsp sugar, the eggs, butter, and pumpkin.

Gradually add 5 cups of the flour and the salt, scraping the side of the bowl, until soft dough forms.  Turn out onto floured surface and knead remaining 1/2 cup of flour into dough, adding more if sticky.  Knead 10 minutes, until smooth.  Dough will be soft.

Grease bowl; add dough.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until doubled, about 1 1/4 hours.

Coat two 13×9 inch baking pans with nonstick cooking spray.  Make filling; mix butter, granulated and brown sugars, and cinnamon in a bowl.

Punch dough down.  Roll out half onto a lightly floured surface to form a 16 x 10 inch rectangle.  Spread with half of the filling.  Starting on one long side, roll up jelly-roll fashion.  Pinch seam to close.  Repeat with second half of dough and filling.

Cut each log crosswise into 12 pieces.  Arrange pieces, cut-side down, in each prepared pan.  Cover with plastic wrap; let sit in a warm spot until buns double in size (about 30-45 minutes).  [You can refrigerate one pan overnight or cover with plastic and freeze at this point.  Thaw overnight.]

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Uncover pans and bake buns until golden brown and bubbly (28-33 minutes).  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

Glaze; blend confectioner’s sugar with milk, whisk until smooth.  Drizzle over buns.  Serve warm.


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