Keep in mind, any measurements are approximate. If you are the kind of cook who follows a recipe to a T and never deviates, this may be frustrating for you!! I apologize in advance.
**beef - whatever kind you want, about 1/2 lb per serving. I like sirloin, cut into bite-size pcs., but have also used ground beef and made mini meatballs (think Italian Wedding Soup)
**beef broth, low sodium if possible, i prefer organic
**Better Than Bouillon Organic Beef Paste (near the broths, in a jar, in the grocery)
**Pearled Barley (this can be trickier to find, but your grocery store has it - just ask someone if you can't locate it)
**herbs if desired (sometimes i use sage, sometimes oregano or parsley, sometimes none)
- Okay, first thing, you want to prepare your beef - either make your meatballs or cut your meat - and lightly salt and pepper it (salt and pepper ground beef PRIOR to making meatballs). BE CAREFUL NOT TO OVER SALT. The BtB Paste is salty!!
- Cut carrots and celery into bite-sized pieces, but we are looking for hearty, so don't cut them too small.
- Cook beef in bottom of soup pot (i recently did this in my pressure cooker for the first time, and WOW! it was amazing and fast - so if you have a pressure cooker, the steps are the same but the times are MUCH shorter) until it is lightly browned on outside but not cooked through.
- Add BtB paste (about a tablespoon is good) and stir beef into it for just a moment, then add appropriate amount of water.
- Add broth (depending on how much soup you are making, you will want half total volume of liquid to come from prepackaged broth and half from water and BtB paste).
- Add vegetables and herbs, but NOT the barley.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cover. (sample broth at this point for salt/pepper/seasoning)
- Simmer about an hour, then add barley (1/2 cup goes a long way).
- Cook another 45 minutes or until barley is tender.