Beef Barley Soup

November 22, 2010

With a hankering for something warm and savory, I decided to give Beef Barley Soup a try.  Believe it or not, I’ve never made it and only eaten it rarely.  I won’t be making that mistake again!

This turned out to be the perfect bowl of comfort food, filling and full of rich flavor.

Next weekend, when I’m sure we’ll all be sick of turkey and leftovers, it’ll be on the table again, alongside another batch of Cheddar Biscuits.

Two pounds of beef made plenty to feed five of us, with leftovers which were probably even better than the original.

  • Stew Beef, about 2 pounds
  • Celery, 4 or 5 ribs
  • Sweet Onion, 1 medium
  • Carrots, 4 or 5
  • Garlic, 3 or 4 cloves
  • Parsley, 1/3 cup snipped
  • Rosemary, a tablespoon or two, snipped
  • Red Wine, about a cup
  • Beef Stock, a couple of quarts
  • Pearled Barley, about a cup
  • Vegetable Oil, 3 or 4 tablespoons
  • Salt/Pepper

Slice the celery, onion and carrots.

Crush the garlic and remove the peel.

Snip the herbs.

In a large, heavy stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the beef and season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s nice and brown.

You might have to do this in batches to avoid overcrowding the pot.  If it’s too crowded, it won’t get nice and nearly-crispy browned.

Add the onion, garlic and herbs and cook for a few more minutes, until the onion softens and begins to brown.

Pour in the wine and stir up all the browned goodness from the bottom of the pot.

Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the wine is reduced by about half.

Stir in the carrots and celery then add the stock, enough to just cover the entire mixture.  Bring it to a nice low simmer and let it cook for about 45 minutes to an hour.

Add a little more stock if needed to cover the whole mixture and stir in the barley.  Cook at a nice low boil for another 45 minutes or so, or until the barley is tender.

Let it sit for a few minutes before dishing it up.  Garnish with a little parsley if you like.  Enjoy!

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Stephanie November 23, 2010 at 1:39 am

This looks like heaven! I cannot wait to make it.


2 Paula November 23, 2010 at 2:56 pm

what a great blog! here is so many inspirations!

have a nice time,


3 Kelly November 28, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Looks wonderful! I’ll have to try this!

We made shephard’s pie today. It was sooo yummy.


4 Judy January 20, 2011 at 6:47 pm

5 Stars! This is a recipe that will become a tradition in my household!
Thanks for sharing!


5 Karen Bove January 20, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Thanks! It’s quickly become a favorite around here too.


6 HENRY September 18, 2011 at 4:59 am

This is my first attempt to find a good Beef barley recipe. Campbell has increased it price, so I’ll be making my own. I reall appreciate the step by step instruction photos. Thank you for help me. Aloha Henry


7 Juli A December 27, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Looks like a rich and hearty fall soup! Great step by step photos of the method. I used as inspiration for my winter tailgating party – Thanks for sharing!


8 Diane January 25, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Easy to make this rich hearty soup! Wonderful!


9 Emily January 31, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Hi Karen, this recipe was delicious but my barley came out gummy, even with a lot of time on the stove. :( Any suggestions? Thanks. :)


10 karenbove February 1, 2012 at 2:24 pm

I’m not sure why? Could it be because there are different types of barley? I found this:


11 anniebonnie March 9, 2012 at 11:24 am

My grandmother made beef barley soup but I found it a bit uninspiring until I made it on my own. I add a can of tomatoes and some mushroom, preferably dried ones, but shitake or baby bella are good. She didn’t use garlic, either, and that is a must. I have some cooking on my stove right now. Oh, and she always made soups with a soup bone. Try finding THAT today! But shank (defatted) or even chuck will work.


12 karenbove March 9, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Tomatoes sound like a great addition. I’m not a fan of the ‘shroom but I can imagine how they’d be good too. And bones? Always hard to get these days. We use neck bones when making traditional italian red sauce and they’re not always easy to come by either.


13 michele February 10, 2013 at 2:07 pm

WOW! this soup was delicious! i added some mushrooms, diced parsnips & zucchini (to empty out my produce drawer) and instead of red wine i used cream sherry and it was phenomenal! thanks for sharing such a great recipe, its a keeper!


14 karenbove February 10, 2013 at 2:30 pm

I’m so glad you enjoyed it and happy to hear that you changed it up. Cooking is all one big experiment in what tastes good!


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