Bone-In-The-Fire stock, but it is worth the extra love. When I do make this soup, I make a vat to share with best friends. As always, use happy beef and the soup will be happy too. I suppose you could use stock from a carton, but make that soup for mediocre friends.
Warning: if you dispense this beefiness without caution, you may end up with more BFFs than you want. It's a bit disconcerting, really. Do they love me? Do they love my soup? Do they love me? Do they love my soup?
-all ingredient amounts are adjustable to personal taste. If you like a chunkier soup, add more solids, if you like a liquidy soup, add fewer vegetables. You get the idea...
5-6 carrots, cubed
5-6 stalks celery, chopped
3-4 bay leaves
1.5 cups barley
1 large can of diced tomatoes
2 zucchinis, cubed
12 cups or 3 quarts of bone-in-the-fire stock
1 bunch of Italian parsley leaves, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1. Skim off the fat from the beef stock and bring to a gentle boil
2. Add the vegetables, bay leaves, tomatoes and barley.
3. Add more stock or water to within 2 inches from the top of the pot. If you need to, you can use two pots as the barley will swell.
4. Simmer gently for about 30 minutes, adding more water as needed. You want the vegetables to still have some crunch.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir in parsley and simmer for 2 minutes longer.
6. Serve with a crusty loaf of bread.
7. This soup gets better on day 2 but it will also thicken up. Add some water or stock and adjust seasoning. It also freezes beautifully.