Beef Barley Soup and Other Food for Firefighters

Did you ever wonder what a firefighter eats for dinner? These are the kind of pithy questions that come up when you hang out with a preschooler. Luckily I can tell you the answer!

Firehouse Food” is a collection of recipes from our very own San Francisco Fire Department and it happens to be one of our favorite cookbooks for easy, down home cookin’-type recipes: we’re talking chicken adobo, duck won ton soup, tamales, chile verde pork and Thai green curry. My dear friend and cook extraordinaire The Hungry Dog swears by this cookbook as does my brother (who, even with his PhD in chemistry, always did want to be a fireman). Between us we’ve probably tried every single recipe in this book and have only successes to report.

This hearty, beef barley soup is a favorite among favorites — the perfect dinner for a chilly evening, a warming lunch after brisk morning of mud puddle jumping, or fuel to fill the tank after fighting that four alarm fire. All three of my guys (hubby, preschooler, bambino) generally go along good naturedly with my cooking experiments, but you’ll find this is on the shortlist of recipes they request most often and butter me up to make. I imagine as my sons turn into ravenous teenagers with equally hungry friends who show up at my doorstep around dinner time that this one will come in quite handy. But for now I’ll just take the extra bonus points I get for making “real firefighter food”.

Instead of giving you the recipe here, I’m gonna point you in the direction of The Hungry Dog’s wonderful blog. You’ll find the recipe along with some beef-barley flavored reminiscences (which happen to include the movie Ice Castles!!). The only change to the original recipe I tend to make is stirring in roughly chopped greens (we like spinach or chard) a few minutes before serving. Grab a hunk of sourdough bread and toss a quick salad and I guarantee you’ll want to give yourself a hug for making this.

3 thoughts on “Beef Barley Soup and Other Food for Firefighters

  1. Yum, Stacie. The thought of dunking some buttered sourdough bread into that bowl of soup sounds heavenly. Also, great idea to add greens before serving. Will take your lead. Hard to believe that our boys (singular for me) will be ‘ravenous teenagers’ one day. Sigh.

  2. Aw, thanks, Stace! What a sweet post. The soup looks perfect and I’m going to steal your idea of adding some greens next time. I seriously love this cookbook…it rivals Marcella Hazan’s in terms of “the one cookbook I couldn’t live without.”

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