I first had this soup many years ago when a friend hosted a party (it's that good; you can serve it at a gathering!). In the years since, I've made it countless times and never had anyone not like it. Hearty and delicious for a fall evening at home...
Beef & Barley Soup
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
6 C. water
1/4 C. ketchup
28 oz chopped tomatoes (I usually used crushed tomatoes)
8 oz. tomato sauce
2 C. sliced carrots
1 1/2 C. chopped onion
1 1/2 C. chopped celery
1/2 C. chopped bell pepper
1/3 C. barley
garlic to taste
1 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 bay leaves
In a large stock pot, brown meat and drain if needed.
Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about an hour or until the vegetables are tender.
• Originally this recipe called for beef bouillon, but since I don't use these kinds of products, I just leave it out. You could substitute beef broth for the water if you have any on hand.
• This freezes well if you want to make batches ahead of time.
• You can adjust the vegetables, but the key ingredient is the ketchup, homemade or store bought. Don't skip it!