For chilly days, this hearty beef and barley soup can make a meal in itself, or complement other courses. Plenty of vegetables combine with the beef and barley to give it flavor.
Beef And Barley Soup
(Preparation 20 minutes, cooking time 35 minutes)
2 pounds lean ground beef
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups sliced carrots
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups sliced celery
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 cups cooked pearl barley (recipe follows)
8 cups beef broth
Two 14 1/2-ounce cans Italian-style stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
1 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
Toasted croutons and/or sour cream, optional
In large pot with lid, cook ground beef over medium-high heat until browned, breaking meat up with fork. Remove meat from pot and set aside. Heat vegetable oil in pot over medium-high heat. Add carrots, onion, celery and garlic; cook about 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender-crisp. Add cooked beef, cooked pearl barley, broth, tomatoes, red wine, thyme and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring soup to boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook 20 minutes. Stir in parsley and serve. Garnish each serving with toasted croutons or a dollop of sour cream, if desired.
Makes 8 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 424 cal., 27 g pro., 20 g fat, 32 g carbo., 74 mg chol., 6 g fiber, 1,146 mg sodium.
To cook pearl barley:
In medium saucepan with lid, bring to boil 3 cups water. Add 1 cup pearl barley and return to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 45 minutes or until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed.
You may cook the barley ahead of time, place in an airtight container and refrigerate or freeze for up to 1 week. For best results, bring refrigerated or frozen barley to room temperature before using.