Hearty Beef and Barley Soup


2/3 cup barley

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 lb. stew meat, cut into small cubes

1 onion, diced

1 (15oz. can) Black beans, drained and rinsed

1(46 oz. can) V-8 juice

1 quart beef stock

10 oz. sliced cremini mushrooms

3 stalks celery, sliced

1 head roasted garlic, pulp squeezed out

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp salt and pepper

1 (9oz. package) frozen mixed vegetables

7 oz. shredded white cheddar cheese

3 cups fresh baby spinach

2 cups heavy cream

Heat a large pot with olive oil and brown the beef in small batches. Add the onions, mushrooms, garlic, paprika, black pepper, salt and celery and saute until fragrant. Pour in the V-8 juice, beef stock, barley, and  black beans. Simmer until flavors have married. Adjust the salt and pepper. Stir in the heavy cream, cheese and baby spinach. Heat until cheese is melted.

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