One day in San Miguel, this soup came to me in a vision. It was exactly what I needed to eat. It’s also very easy.
Buy Milanesa or pound flat two pounds of stew beef. When it as flat as a flitter, cut it into strips so thin they come apart. Brown in vegetable oil over medium heat, adding a large chopped onion when all the pink is cooked out. Let things simmer down so that the onions get just a bit browned. Add a chopped bell pepper, a chopped stick of celery, a couple tablespoons of coarse ground black pepper, and a couple tablespoons of salt to the mix and immediately start adding water. Keep it all hot as you keep adding until you end up having added a gallon and a half water. At some point during this process you’ve moved the whole process from a frying pan into a stew pot. Put in two cans of tomato sauce and one of chopped, stewed tomatoes. Use the ones with basil and oregano already cooked into them if you like. Adda bit more basil even if you use spiced tomatoes. Once it is boiling, cut the heat down to low and add in two cups of barley. Not instant or quick or easy barley, just plain old barley. Now let it simmer for half an hour at least, stirring it every once in a while to keep the barley from settling out and/or burning to the bottom.
Eat with crackers.