My mother knows how to stretch every dollar out of the food budget she can. While good choice meats are now selling at good choice prices, you can still get reasonably lean hamburger for much less than you can get soup/stew meat for. This is a hearty soup that can be enjoyed on any chilly fall or winter day and it goes straight to work warming your bones. Don’t knock the simplicity of this recipe… it’s very good and I promise it won’t disappoint. Serve it with simple biscuits and you have a winner every time. While this recipe calls for very little mix in vegetables, you can add practically anything from leftover corn, cauliflower, green beans or what have you to mix it up a little bit. My Grandmother used to freeze those one or two bites of leftover this or that vegetables and when her freezer container got full it was soup time. In this economy wasted food is wasted money and it’s a shame to have to waste anything, especially when you can repurpose it into tasty soup.
- 1½ pounds ground beef
- 1 onion, minced
- 4 carrots, minced
- 3 celery ribs, thinly sliced
- ½ cup barley
- 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 2 cups water
- 3 (10 ounce) cans beef broth or 2½ cups more water and equivalent beef bullion cubes
- 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed tomato soup
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon parsley
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ground black pepper, to taste
- Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat, and crumble in the ground beef. Cook and stir until the beef is evenly browned and no longer pink. Drain well, and discard any excess grease.
- Stir in the onion, carrots, celery, and barley. Pour in diced tomatoes, water, broth, and tomato soup. Season with bay leaf, parsley, garlic, thyme, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and cover; simmer for 2 hours, stirring frequently. Remove bay leaf before serving.