Winter sure feels like it's here today. So I started this real early in the day to get the flavors working for a long time. Resist adding too much barley, otherwise you end up with mush, and what you really want is a hearty SOUP. Mis en Place 1 lb stew meat, cut in small dice 3 Tbls corn oil 3 carrots small dice 3 stalks celery, small dice 2 cups yellow onion, small dice 1 zucchini, small dice 48 oz. chicken or beef stock 24 oz water 8-10 sprigs fresh flat leaf parsley chopped 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme 1 Tsp Herbs de Provence 2 large bay leaves 10 peppercorns 1 14oz can small diced tomatoes 1 medium red potato, small dice 1/3 cup barley 12 oz. dry white wine, a decent chardonnay for example Preparation: In a heavy dutch oven heat the 3 Tbls Corn Oil until it's almost smoking hot, add the small diced beef cubes and brown. Season with salt and Herbs de Provence. Once the beef is nicely browned add all the vegetables and saute about 2 minutes, mostly to help deglaze any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Now add 24 oz. chicken stock and 24 oz. water, the parsley, thyme, bay leaves and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, immediately reduce to a very low simmer. Skim any scum from top of pot with a ladle. Let simmer 90 minutes. Add tomatoes and remaining stock[, simmer 30 minutes more. Now add 1/3 cup barley, the white wine and the small diced red potato and cook about 40 minutes. The barley takes on that oat like shape, add salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat and let sit for about 1 hour letting the flavors meld. For those that don't know: what the white wine does is add a little acid which really gives the soup character - all the alcohol cooks out but it adds a subtle flavor that is hard to describe. Reheat at service time and if necessary add a little more stock so your soup is soupy. Serve in big bowls with a crusty french bread or croutons.