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Recipe for Beef Barley Soup

Can anyone share or point me to a good recipe for beef and barley soup? I looked at Cooks Illustrated, but it calls for 6lbs of beef, not all of which is even used for the soup. That just seems a bit excessive to me...there must be a better way to make a tasty beef barley soup!

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!


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  1. Giada De Laurentis cookbook/food network has a wonderful beef and lentil soup. You could probably trade out the lentils for barley. Her recipe is wonderful, easy and does not call for 6lbs of beef


    1. I would just use a pound or two of beef bones: ribs if you need some meat, otherwise shins if you have some leftover roast beef to throw in, with lots of cut up veggies and stewed tomatoes for a couple of hours, then throw in the barley an hour before it's done. Very simple spicing: salt, pepper, thyme, parsley, bay leaf maybe?

      1. My beef and barley soup always comes about from left over beef and nothing is safe. Steak is the best one, or London Broil and I have made it with hamburgerif I get a craving and don't have what I need to make Albondingas... Hey it's beef right?

        This is my recipe for Beef and Barley Soup.
        Beef Broth - 6 cups use canned or homemade stock. If you use homemade, 4 cups of stock and 2 cups of water.
        1 can of tomatoes - or 4 tomatoes chopped, save the juice, you can see just strain the juice with a sieve.
        1 pound or less even, of beef, steak or London Broil - nothing too expensive it will tenderize as it cooks in the broth
        Fresh garlic 4 cloves - sliced
        1 large onion chopped medium
        Green beans - fresh leave the whole or use Trader Joes frozen
        Barley- ok I never measure I would use a half a cup if you have plenty of veggies
        maybe a little more if not
        salt and pepper
        1 celery stalk chopped fine
        sometimes mushrooms, white 1/2 sliced in quarters -its okay to leave them out
        Garlic powder 1 T
        Herbs de Provence - This is not standard, I like it so I will add about 1 T/another option
        Brown your beef in oil and salt, pepper the meat.
        Add the broth to a pot add the meat, the stock and the veggies. cook on a medium flame for about 1 hour, total 1 1/2 hour, turn on low, then add the other half of the onion reserve the carrot/ add them to the soup about 35 minutes. Check the carrot for doneness before you serve...pure comfort with a piece of sour dough bread.
        I love this soup. http://www.flickr.com/photos/7220939@...
        This is a beef and barley soup made from left over hamburger, and the remainders or frozen corn and peas,then I couldn't resist some parmesan cheese.
        YUM! I like it....

        1. I know it does sound excessive, but I do love to make my beef barley soup from Oxtail stock, deeply browned beef, mushrooms and all the standard rest.

          I do want that sticky from gelatin reduced from stock, added to barley *plump* But then Beef Barley soup is an event in my kitchen.

          Otherwise nah, for beggie soup with beef and barley, a good stock nice veggies do OK.

          1. Thanks, these are all great ideas! The idea of using 6lbs of beef (and not all of which would even go in the soup!) just seemed a little too extravagant for a homey soup.

            Thanks again, keep em coming!

            1. I make beef mushroom barley soup, here is the recipe, it freezes really well and can be a complete meal:

              3 lb. beef short ribs, beef shanks, or chuck (you need both bones and meat)
              2 large yellow onions, diced
              4 carrots, scraped and diced
              3 pieces celery, cleaned and diced
              28 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
              1 cup pearl barley
              16 oz. button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
              1 oz dried mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes and chopped
              16 oz. whole kernel corn, optional
              salt and pepper to taste
              6 qt. cold water

              Broil meat until well browned on cookie sheet, put meat and juices in large 8 qt. soup pot. Add all vegetables except corn, salt & pepper and water. Simmer on low heat for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Add corn if using it. Add pearl barley, stir well every 20 minutes so barley doesn't stick for total of 60 minutes, until barley is cooked.

              You can add green beans, cabbage, other vegetables if desired. Essentially, this is beef vegetable soup with mushrooms and barley. When soup is cooked, remove meat and bones. Discard bones, dice soup meat in small pieces, add back to mixture. If storing soup in fridge, you may need to add some water when re-heating, as barley will continue to thicken soup. Freezes well.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Diane in Bexley

                Diane, this soup sounds great and I'd love to try it out. One question...do you cook it for 3 hours and then add the pearl barley and cook for another hour?


                1. re: valerie

                  I make a Jewish beef mushroom barley soup that is similar to the one above, but no corn. I load it with extra mushrooms. I've found that if I brown the meat well in the pot, I can just deglaze with chicken stock and simmer the meat in stock plus water (use a mix - half & half) which cuts down on the cooking time.

                  1. re: valerie

                    Yes, essentially you make the beef vegetable soup first and then add the barley and cook for another hour. The barley will keep swelling, so don't keep it laying around in the fridge too long after cooking or you will end up with mush - freezes wonderfully and reheats very well.

                    1. re: Diane in Bexley

                      Great, thanks. I'm always looking for new things to serve to my kids and will try this soon!

                  2. re: Diane in Bexley

                    Yes this sounds delicious! I love beef short ribs! You would get tremendous flavor with them. No broth needed with this one. MMMM!'

                    Thanks Diane!

                    1. re: Diane in Bexley

                      Diane in Bexley, I made this recently for the freezer and we just ate it for the first time tonight. Delicious! I didn't use corn or fresh mushrooms but did use reconstituted dried mushrooms. Also, I did the meat in the pot before anything else went in instead of broiling. Hated to mess with your method but you know how we do...

                      We had the soup with nice bread, butter and jam. What a wonderful meal it was. Thank you for posting this easy and delicious recipe!

                    2. Look for The Frugal Gourmet's Beef Barley Soup recipe! I've made it numerous times, and it's incredible.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: scuzzo

                        I've been searching the internet for this recipe with no luck. Can you please post it?

                      2. The Ina Garten Rich Beef Barley Soup is out of this world! I made it for my client at work, and am going to make if for my family! Her recipes call for Ox tails, and I had no idea what that was going to taste like, but it was delicious! Really good and rich! Just 2 lbs. and it gave the soup the most unbelievable rich beef flavor! Oh and pearl barley, leeks, onions, garlic, carrots, no celery,and no tomatoes makes all the difference compared to most other recipes.

                        Brown the meat, remove

                        add the veggies

                        put meat back in the pot

                        add beef stock

                        add thyme, bay leaf

                        cook barley seperate for half an hour

                        then add it to soup for last 20 minutes.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: fiore56

                          Have to chuckle when I saw this post, as I just defrosted some M&B soup for lunch today. It's such a great winter meal. I make big vats of it and store in smaller containers. I love Ina Garten, but my recipe tastes better, doesn't need any additional stock and messes up less pots (all for less washing up!)