2 lbs beef chuck stew meat
2 T olive oil
2 c carrots, diced
2 c onion, diced
2 c celery, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb barley
12 c beef broth
2 cans (14-16oz) Italian-style stewed tomatoes
1/2 c dry red wine
1 t dried thyme
salt & pepper
1/4 c fresh parsley, minced
dash balsamic vinegar

In a large pot or Dutch oven, cook beef in oil on medium-high heat until browned, breaking up with a spatula or fork as it cooks. Remove beef from pan and set aside.

Add oil to pan; add carrots, onion, celery and garlic; cook until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Return beef and all remaining ingredients, except optional vinegar. Bring to boil on high heat; reduce heat to a simmer, cover. Simmer 60 minutes or until barley is tender.

Stir in parsley and taste. Adjust seasoning, adding more salt or pepper if needed, or a splash of balsamic vinegar if soup needs a little more zip.

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 1/2 hours

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