This is a relatively simple and easily modified recipe. I’ve made it lots of different ways with all kinds of different ingredients. This is the most basic version and is a starting point that you can customize from here.
Vegetable Beef with Barley Soup
1 – Pound Ground Beef
3 to 4 – Medium Potatoes, peeled and diced
3 to 4 – Carrots, peeled and diced
1 – Can Cut Green Beans
1 – Can Corn
1 – 46oz Can Tomato Juice
1 – T. Chili Powder
1/2 – C. Barley
Season and brown ground beef (season as you normally would). Drain if necessary. Add veggies with any liquids from can. Add enough water to cover. Simmer and cook until potatoes and carrots just start to soften. Add tomato juice, barley, chili powder and pepper to taste. Cook until veggies and barely are done, around 10 minutes.
Total Time: Apx. 1.5 Hours
There are so many other veggies or forms of veggies you can use in this. I normally have frozen corn and canned green beans from my mom’s garden, but I was out of green beans this time around. Same thing with canned tomato juice. Fresh, or nearly fresh, from the garden is way better than any other option, but I’ll use what I have available. My mom loves to use a bag of frozen mixed vegetables that have peas or lima beans in there, but I can’t stand most of those, so I don’t. She also likes to sometimes add cabbage. Again, not my thing. Lots of times, if I have it on hand, I’ll brown the meat with some onions. I’ve even used cut up roast or some other cut of beef and added some lovely red wine to the cooking process.
Really, this is one of those recipes that it just all comes down to what you like. Barley or no barley? Want noodles? Mushrooms? Go for it. Don’t like carrots? No problem. Even if want to do a vegetarian version and leave out the meat, that is totally okay. This is completely flexible. It is also part of the reason why I don’t put a total amount that this recipe makes as I don’t often make it exactly the same. For the most part, this fits comfortably in a large stock pot and my family of 5 usually ends up with three or four individual meal size servings left over. This is also easy to scale up or down as none of the amounts listed need to be exact.