I feel like a broken record when I say that this is a very easy meal to prepare, but it truly is! I think what makes it distinctly yummy is the fact that I used "good" beef as opposed to the traditional stew beef which tends to be tough and flavorless. And, they don't call this "Beef" Barley soup for nothing. The beef is the star! I had a bag of steak tips in the freezer that I thawed. Wait, I'm getting ahead of myself... Let's back up to the beginning.
Cut up a Vidalia onion, a bunch of carrots and some celery and saute in a little butter. I happened to have some leeks in the fridge, so I cut up two of those as well. When the carrots and celery begin to get tender, add the leeks and cook for another 5-10 minutes.
Time to sear the steak tips. Make sure you dry them really well before browning them. If you don't, the steak won't brown, it will just bubble and turn grey, and you don't want that! Once the meat is nicely browned, cut it into bite-sized pieces and add to your vegetables.
You can also add 1 box of beef broth, as well as a can of diced tomatoes. Let everything simmer together for approximately 15 minutes, and then taste. You might need to add more garlic, or salt, or thyme...it depends on how much you added in the beginning. You want to make sure that you can taste all the wonderful ingredients.
The last ingredient you will add is the 1/2 cup of barley. It takes about 20-30 minutes to cook, so time it accordingly.
That is all there is to this soup. If you need more liquid, you can add more beef broth. I'm not a big fan of adding water, only because I think it weakens all the flavors that you have strived so hard to achieve.
So there you have it. Trust me when I say that you need to use the right beef so that you will experience the wonderful flavor of this soup. Enjoy...