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Beef, Mushroom and Barley Soup

Serves 4 to 6

This hearty beef soup recipe is an absolutely delicious comfort food and one pot meal. It takes a little time to cook, but preparation is easy. The soup can be made ahead, refrigerated for several days and reheated for serving. Leftovers are equally good. For a vegetarian mushroom and barley soup, see the similar and related recipes links.

Ingredients

Season the meat with salt and pepper. Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the meat, in batches if needed to not crowd the pan, and brown lightly on all sides. Remove from pot with slotted spoon or tongs. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pot. Reduce heat to medium and add the carrots, celery and onions. Sauté until lightly browned and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, garlic, thyme, marjoram and a little more salt and pepper; sauté for 3 more minutes, adding the tomato paste for the last minute. Return heat to high. Add the sherry and stir to loosen any browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Add the broth, water, reserved beef and barley. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low; cover and simmer gently until beef and barley are tender, about 2 hours. Before serving, add the parsley and stir well to combine.

Notes: Go easy on the salt until you know how salty the beef broth is. Even low-sodium varieties tend to be salty, at least to my taste. If the soup appears too thick for your taste, add more water and then taste in case it needs more seasoning.