Vegetable, Barley & Sausage Soup

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 cup onion, chopped

2 lbs. ground Italian sausage (I usually use chicken sausage or a combo of chicken and pork)

2 tsp. thyme, dried

1 tsp. basil, dried

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

2 cups celery, diced

2 cups carrot, diced

2 cups cabbage, chopped (I love the bagged, pre-shredded cabbage/coleslaw mixes)

100 oz. beef broth

28 oz. can chopped tomatoes

1 cup barley

2 TBS. brown sugar

2 TBS. balsamic vinegar

2 TBS. Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Shaved parmesan cheese

In a 9-quart pot, cook garlic, onions and sausage over medium heat until onions are soft and sausage begins to brown. Add thyme, basil and red pepper flakes and cook for 5 minutes. Add celery, carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, barley and beef broth. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered for about an hour. Add salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving, stir in brown sugar, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Top with shaved parmesan.