Lentil Soup with Beef & Barley Print

10 cups beef stock, vegetable, water or a combination
1/4 cup pot barley
1/2 lb lean ground beef
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp parsley flakes
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup quick cooking oats
2 Tbsp milk
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 cups sliced carrots
1 cup sliced celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp thyme
Salt and pepper
1 1/4 cups split red lentils, washed
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup diced peppers (red or green)
1 quart or 2 (14oz/398 mL) canned tomatoes

In a 6-quart pot put 9 cups of the stock and the barley. cover and bring to a boil, simmer 20 - 30 minutes until barley is almost done.
Meanwhile, make tiny meatballs: Mix together the ground beef, salt, parsley, pepper, garlic powder, egg, oats and milk. Shape into about 30 1/4 inch meatballs. Brown in heated greased skillet on all sides or bake on a lightly greased baking sheet about 25 minutes at 400°F. Set aside.
To the soup add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, basil, thyme, a little salt and pepper and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil again and cook 10 minutes. add lentils and peppers; bring to a boil and cook till lentils are tender, 5-10 minutes. add crushed tomatoes and reserved meatballs. add remaining 1 cup stock to skillet; scrape up all bits and add to soup. cover and bring to a boil. Taste and adjust seasoning by adding more salt and pepper as desired.
Makes about 1 gallon and freezes well.

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