Or: Beef and onion soup with barley? Nah, I fall for alliteration every time. I used a bit of red wine in this after I had it going, wish I had thought of that earlier. In the recipes I’ve seen that call for wine, most of them say to reduce the wine early. In this recipe I should have added it to the browned beef and cooked that down before adding the broth. It turned out fine nonetheless. I like the simplicity of this, just a few ingredients that develop a great flavor. This is great even without the wine, so don’t worry if you don’t have any.
Brown the beef in a little oil, add some sliced garlic and some red pepper flakes when it starts to dry out. That may be the best time to add in some nice red wine.
I used beef broth from a carton. Not a purist who makes my own.
I used most of two onions, sliced, not diced. I like the larger pieces in this soup. One could brown the onions with the beef early on, but I like the texture they have when added to the broth. This soup simmers a good long while.
Add the barley with the onions (do NOT use instant barley). Rule of thumb: Use way less than you think it needs. This is one quarter cup. Give the soup an hour or so at a simmer and check to see what it looks like, if you think you need more barley go ahead and put some more in there. Like I said, this soup simmers for a long time. I ended up adding another eighth cup. I also added the wine at that time, about an hour into the simmer.
This is another one of those soups that can stand the simmer longer than you can stand smelling it simmer. Mrs J declared it soup after about three hours. I mixed some corn starch in a bit of broth and added it to thicken. You may need to add some broth as you go along.