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Mushroom Barley Soup

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 lbs beef stew meat.
3 C sliced mushrooms - about 1/2 lb.
1/2 C chopped onion
1/2 C chopped green bell pepper
1 C. celery chopped
2 C tomatoes, diced
2 C carrots, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
6 C beef broth ( not condensed - but ready to eat - or appropriately diluted)
1/2 C quick cooking barley
1 Tbsp. dry sherry
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram

Brown beef in oil in a heavy saucepan. Add tomatoes, seasonings, onion, and garlic. Cover and simmer over low heat for 1 hour. Add vegetables, barley and sherry and continue to simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender about 45 minutes.
Total prep time: about 2 hours

To prepare in less time: Saute the vegetables in oil until tender, about 5 minutes and add to the broth/ beef. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and add the sherry and barley. Simmer for 15 - 20 minutes or until the barley is tender.
Total prep time: about 1-1/2 hours

Or you can omit the beef and cook the mushrooms, onions, green pepper, celery and carrots in oil for 5 minutes, add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, add barley, and cover. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until barley is tender.
Total prep time: 45 minutes

Contributed by Nancy Faust

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