As you read over this recipe, you might be tempted to cut back on the shortening. Please don't. Barley soup needs fat to taste good. The stew meat is very lean, and this recipe makes such a big pot of soup that the fat is really necessary.
Beef and Barley Soup
1/2 c. shortening
3 onions, diced
1 head of celery, diced
2-3 lbs. carrots, peeled and sliced
1 29 oz. can tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
1/2 c. beef base
6 quarts water
2 c. barley
3 lbs. stew meat
Melt the shortening in a large stock pot. Brown stew meat. Add the onion and celery. Cook until tender. Add beef base, water, tomatoes, and carrots. Simmer for several hours. Bring back to a boil. Add the barley and cook about 40 minutes longer. (Only about 15 minutes if you use quick barley.) Serve with good bread or rolls.
This soup is very easy, delicious, and satisfying. It can be frozen as well.