I love this soup. I chopped up a couple of rib eye steaks for this but lesser cuts of beef will work fine. Start some coarsely chopped onions simmering in beef broth, add the barley. I like to add plenty, give yourself enough time to see how much what you’ve added actually amounts to if you haven’t used it before, it swells up quite a bit. Start at 1/4 cup per quart and add more as you see fit.
Brown the cubed beef well in a skillet then deglaze with plenty of red wine, stirring to get the nice bits off the bottom, then add all of that to the broth. Continue the simmer, adding more broth and/or barley as you go. I add bay leaves and a bundle of fresh thyme, a couple tablespoons of mushroom soy sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and ground pepper. Simmer until the onions have all but disappeared. Thicken, as needed, with a cornstarch slurry .