My mother, Virginia Brewer, used to make a soup similar to this for our family but without the barley. She added corn instead. Unfortunately, I don’t have my mother’s recipe but this is the closest one I have been able to find that tastes like hers. Served with homemade corn muffins, you have a hearty, satisfying winter meal.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 (14½-oz.) can whole tomatoes, coarsely chopped, with juice
  • ½ cup pearl barley, thoroughly rinsed
  • 4 cups beef stock or broth
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ tsp. dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp. dried marjoram
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Makes 6 servings.

DIRECTIONS

1. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the meat, onion, garlic, celery, and carrots. Cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon until the meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

2. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, until vegetables and barley are tender, about 1 hour. Remove bay leaf and discard. Taste, and adjust seasonings, if needed.

Source: The Big Book of Soups & Stews by Maryana Vollstedt

Barbara Walch

Barbara Walch joined the staff of Plano Profile in August 1986 and currently serves as Food Editor and Associate Publisher, Community Relations. In addition to writing Dining In, a monthly food feature,...