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This has been a long time favorite of my family's, it is a hearty soup with so much flavor! This should be enough for 6-8 people but can be doubled if desired, and it freezes very well. The barley can be replaced with rice. I have made this soup many times using tiny meatballs, that have been browned first. The crushed red pepper flakes are optional, if you like some heat then add them in when cooking the soup. This soup is very good, and tastes even better the day after!
- 2 lbs extra lean ground beef
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic (can use more)
- 1 large onion, chopped finely
- 1 (28 ounce) can tomatoes (undrained)
- 1 3⁄4 cups water
- 3 (10 ounce) cans beef consomme, undiluted (make certain to use only beef consomme, not beef broth!)
- 1 -2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 (10 ounce) can tomato soup, undiluted
- 5 -6 carrots, chopped into about 1-inch pieces
- 1 -2 bay leaf
- 1⁄2 teaspoon thyme
- salt and pepper
- 1⁄2 cup pearl barley
- crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- grated parmesan cheese
- In a large pot, brown the ground beef with onion and garlic; drain any fat (if you are making this soup with meatballs, brown the meatballs first, then sauté the onions and garlic after the meatballs).
- Add in all remaining ingredients except Parmesan cheese, and simmer for a minimum of 3 hours, (adjusting ingredients to suit taste).
- Ladle into serving bowls and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.