Quick and easy. In less than an hour, you can have this excellent and satisfying Italian Sausage and Mushroom-Barley soup on the table.

1/2 pound Italian sausage
1 large sweet onion; cleaned and chopped
2 carrots, scrubbed and chopped
1/2 pound mushrooms, clean, remove dark stem parts, slice
1 small ripe tomato; wash, stem and chop
6 cups beef broth
3/4 cup quick-cook barley
1 10-ounce package frozen spinach
Sour cream

If you’re using link sausage, remove the meat from the casings. Crumble the meat into a heavy bottom Dutch oven. Add the onion, carrots, mushrooms and tomato.

Over high heat, stir frequently until the vegetables begin to go limp and the sausage begins to brown. Add the spinach. Turn the heat up to high, stirring occasionally to bring the pot to the point that it just begins to boil. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook 10 – 15 minutes, until the barley is tender. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste; allow to rest for 5 – 10 minutes.

Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of parsley or cilantro if you have it.

Quick and Easy Tip: I use my egg slicer to slice the mushrooms right into the pot.

Yield: 4 – 6 servings.

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