If you are hosting Passover, you may well be making a brisket. And if you are making brisket, you may well have leftovers.

(And if you don't end up with leftovers, make a note next year to buy a bigger brisket.)

You can, of course, just heat up those leftover slices and have yourself another small, lovely brisket dinner, or perhaps make a thick and probably messy sandwich. Good choices, both. But if you want to stretch those tender pieces of meat into a different dish to serve a bigger group, then soup is the way to go.

This is a flexible recipe, so feel free to play around with the proportions and ingredients. This assumes you're starting with a fairly traditional brisket recipe, saucy and punctuated with some braised vegetables, like carrots and onions. But the basic template will work with all kinds of brisket.

If you want to add some chopped celery or peppers when you are sauteing the carrots and onions, go right ahead. The amount of barley may seem small, but it expands as it cooks into a large amount of toasty, chewy grain, and bulks up the soup nicely. Other grains like spelt or farro would also be very good.

If you don't have enough sauce from the brisket, add up to 2 cups of extra beef broth — or maybe add a cup of tomato sauce, and even a splash of red wine if you've got a bottle open (I almost always have a bottle open).

And then, voila! Two cups of leftover brisket have magically transformed themselves into a soup that will feed 4 or more.

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LEFTOVER BRISKET BARLEY SOUP

Servings: 4 to 6

Start to finish: 1 hour

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1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped carrots

1/2 cup pearl barley

2 cups beef broth

2 cups chopped leftover brisket, plus any chopped cooked vegetables from the brisket

2 cups sauce from cooking the brisket (or 1 cup sauce and 1 extra cup beef broth)

Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)

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Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan, and saute the onion and carrots for 3 minutes, until slightly softened. Add the barley and saute for 2 more minutes until the barley is nicely coated with the oil and toasty looking.

Add 2 cups beef broth, 2 cups of the brisket sauce (or 1 cup sauce and 1 additional cup beef broth) and two cups of water. Partially cover and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes, until the barley is pretty tender.

Turn the heat to high, add the chopped brisket and any chopped cooked carrots or other vegetables that were swimming around in the sauce, and bring to a simmer, uncovered. Return the heat to medium low and let it bubble gently away for 10 more minutes. If you want, add some fresh chopped parsley. Now you have soup.

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Nutrition information per serving: 297 calories; 139 calories from fat; 15 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 52 mg cholesterol; 167 mg sodium; 19 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 21 g protein.

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Katie Workman has written two cookbooks focused on easy, family-friendly cooking, "Dinner Solved!" and "The Mom 100 Cookbook." She blogs at http://www.themom100.com/about-katie-workman. She can be reached at Katie@themom100.com.