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Lamb or Beef Barley Soup

Serves 6

I love this barley soup. I usually make it when I have a leftover leg of lamb bone to use for the stock. However, it can be made with beef or a combination of both meats. Either way, it is an easy, delicious and hearty one pot meal needing only some crusty bread on the side.


Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Season the meat cubes with salt and pepper. Add to hot pot, in batches if necessary, and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients except the garlic. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until vegetables are tender and barley is thoroughly cooked, about 45 to 60 minutes. Add the crushed garlic and cook another 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Serve immediately. Soup is also very good leftover.

Notes: Adding garlic crushed in a press at the very end of the cooking adds a strong flavor that I like in some soups. If you prefer a milder garlic taste, add it at the beginning. Leftover lamb or beef can be used instead of fresh. Add it during the last 5 minutes, just to heat. Not all barley cooks the same. Some plumps more depending on type and age. If you prefer a thicker soup, wait to add the water until you see if you need more. If you do add more water, add a little more of the seasonings.