From Cooking Light, March 2009. This soup makes wonderful leftovers. I used quick-cooking barley, added during the last 10 minutes of cooking time. I also used just 4 cups of broth or a carton of stock and added a dash of cayenne pepper or hot sauce to finish. I haven't tried it, but I think using beer or ale instead of the water would add a boost of flavor.
Cooking spray 2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large) 1 lb. chuck steak, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I used stewing beef) 1 1/2 cups chopped peeled carrot (about 4) 1 cup chopped celery (about 4 stalks) 5 garlic cloves, minced 1 cup uncooked pearl barley 5 cups fat-free less-sodium beef broth 2 cups water 1/2 cup no-salt-added tomato puree 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 2 bay leaves
1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chopped onion and beef to pan; cook 10 minutes or until onion is tender and beef is browned, stirring occasionally. Add chopped carrot and chopped celery to pan; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in garlic; cook 30 seconds. Stir in barley and remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes or until the barley is done and vegetables are tender. Discard bay leaves. Makes 6 servings.