Beef, Barley, and Bean Soup

This soup is the all-time favorite of my youngest daughter, Eve. It's a rich, thick, filling dish that can make an entire meal or can be served in smaller quantities as a first course. Using a crockpot overnight, this soup makes a wonderful first course for a Shabbat lunch. The key to combining all the flavors is to brown each of the ingredients, including the spices, in turn, in the oil. I try to use many varieties of dried beans to add a bit of variation in color, texture, and flavor.


Yield: 12 servings

Heat oil in large soup pot, sauté onion and beef until brown, add vegetables and continue to sauté for 2 minutes, add remaining spices and barley. Stir and sauté another 2 minutes. Add remaining vegetables (optional), soaked beans, and tomato paste (optional) and enough water to bring volume to about 6 quarts. Bring to a slow simmer and simmer for 12 hours. Remove fat. This can be eaten after 4 or 5 hours, but it improves with longer cooking.

If you make the soup in advance, refrigerate for several hours and remove the congealed fat before reheating to serve.

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