Soups can be so easy and quick to make - and full of flavour! The secret ingredient in this soup is the Vegamite… Yeah we know; our friends in North America just screamed Yuck! But the Vegamite brings out all the flavour from the beef and mushrooms while allowing its own flavour to disappear. Give it a try; you'll love it. Ingredients 1 lb (500 g) stewing beef, cut into 1" cubes ½ tsp (2 mL) salt ½ tsp (2 mL) pepper ½ tsp (2 mL) dried thyme 2 Tbsp (30 mL) olive oil 1 cup (250 mL) diced onions 1 cup (250 mL) diced celery 1 cup (250 mL) diced carrots 6 cups (1.5 L / 500 g) sliced mushrooms 6 cups (1.5 L) chicken stock 2 cups (500 mL) water ½ cup (125 mL / 100g) barley (pot or pearl) 1 Tbsp (15 mL) tomato paste 1 Tbsp Vegamite (or Marmite yeast paste) 1 bay leaf Method Season beef with salt, pepper and thyme. In a Dutch oven, heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the oil over medium-high heat; then brown beef on all sides. Remove to a bowl.
Add remaining oil to pan (if needed). Then cook onions, celery and carrots over medium heat, stirring occasionally until tender and onions are translucent.
Add mushrooms and continue cooking, stirring often. You want most of the mushroom liquid to evaporate.
Stir in stock and water, scraping up any fond in the pan. Add barley, tomato paste, bay leaf and Vegamite. Return beef and any accumulated juices to pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until beef and barley are tender, about 1 hour. Discard bay leaf before serving.