This is my one soup that has always gotten rave reviews from everyone who has ever tried it. I make a gallon at a time.
5 small red potatoes
5 celery stalks
a small onion
a small carton of mushrooms
stir-fry beef (I don't like stew beef; too much fat)
1 cup barley (not instant/quick-cook barley!)
some corn (I use frozen; just don't use canned)
some peas (I use frozen; just don't use canned)
some green beans (I use frozen; just don't use canned)
one gallon beef broth (If it's canned, like Swanson's, I would recommend a 2 cans broth : 1 can water ratio because otherwise it's too salty.)
1. Cut the beef into small pieces. Brown in the bottom of the soup pot with some corn oil. Dice the onion and slice the mushrooms. Add those in too. Saute'.
2. Add the beef broth. Bring to boil.
3. While it's heating up, wash the carrots and celery and chop into small pieces.
4. Rinse the barley and dump it in when the water is boiling. Stir.
5. When it boils again, dump in the corn and green beans. Stir.
6. When it boils again, dump in the carrots and celery. Turn the heat down a bit so it's not boiling as fast. Stir occasionally.
7. Chop up the potatoes. About an hour after you put in the barley and brought it to the second boil, dump in the potatoes. Stir.
8. Twenty minutes later dump in the peas and turn the heat off. (I have an electric stove. If yours is gas, let it come almost to a boil again before turning it off.) Stir. Sprinkle in copious quantities of black pepper and paprika. Not as much cayenne (it's not intended to be super spicy - just give it a bit of a kick). A couple dashes of the Worcestershire sauce, though I've left this out before without any huge difference.
9. Stir and cover. Let it sit on the stove slowly cooling overnight. Put it in the fridge the following morning. Eat for lunch. :)
That last step about leaving it out overnight may sound scary but I've never killed anyone with my soup by doing that. ;) You can stick it in the fridge directly if you want, but you might end up endangering all the other food in there by putting in something that big and hot right away.
Also, it's important to let the flavors blend together. You can eat it right after you're done adding the spices, but it won't taste right at that point. (It'll be edible and all... the full flavor just doesn't show up until the next day.)
The order of vegetables as stated above is important too. Stuff will cook at different rates. It took me a while to work out exactly what order to do it. Total cooking time has to be at least an hour and a half or the beef won't be tender enough.