Yakityak's Family Vegetable Beef Soup

1.5 lbs of lean shish-kebab meat or well cleaned stew beef
3 - 4 mach bane (marrow bone sections)
2 carrots, peeled and sliced small
2 celery, sliced small
1 medium potato, peeled and sliced in thin small pieces
1 good size onion, peeled and diced
1 green pepper, cored and seeded
1/4 cup dried green split peas
1/4 cup dried yellow split peas
1/2 cup dried barley
1 generous handful of dried lima beans

1 tblsp. kosher salt
10 shakes (or grinds) of pepper

Rinse meat and remove as much fat and gristle as possible (that's why shish kebab meat is preferred - it will save you a lot of time). Dice carrots, celery, onion and potato. Put all the dried peas, barley and lima beans into a strainer and rinse well with cold water - allow to drain fully to remove excess starch. Put everything (except the salt and pepper) into an 8 quart pot and fill the pot with water to an inch or inch and a half of the top. Cover, bring to a boil, and SKIM THE SCHAUM (scum). Yes! You HAVE to. If you don't - you might as well not bother with the recipe... the soup will be too grody to eat if you don't do this step. I will put a 'how to skim schaum's post up in the tips section of the forum home-page, for those who do not know what I mean. Anyway, after skimming the schaum, add the salt and pepper cook covered at a simmer for 1.5 hours. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary. Soup is done when meat and beans are soft. Discard (or eat) the bones and green pepper - but allow the juice to drain into pot before tossing.

This soup is very hearty - a meal unto itself. It also has the charming attribute of freezing very well - it's great for stocking your freezer so you don't have to cook when you're sick.

A final note - soup/marrow bones are easier to come by than you think. They're never on display, but the butcher almost always has them in the back. Ask and you shall receive - for a nominal fee, and sometimes you'll get them gratis. They freeze well, so you can get enough bones for several batches and store them in the freezer. You _can_ make the soup without the bones, but it definitely lacks in both flavor and thickening.

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