HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Barley in Beef Vegetable Soup

c
cgarner Jan 20, 2012 08:10 AM

I’m planning on making a beef vegetable soup this weekend. I LOVE barley in my soup, but it seems I always wind up pining for more or cursing myself for a gloppy mess because I’ve put too much in.

Can someone tell me what is a good amount of barley per cup of liquid to add to the soup?

I’m planning on making a large batch and freezing portions for future meals, does barley continue to ‘grow’ and soak up liquid like pasta does and is that something I need to take into consideration?

And lastly, if anyone cares to share THEIR all time favorite beef veggie soup recipe/method/special ingredient, please feel free
:-)
TIA!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. m
    magiesmom RE: cgarner Jan 20, 2012 08:27 AM

    Barley will grow a little, but nothing like pasta. I use 1/2 to 2/3 cup raw in a big pot of soup, adding in last 45 minutes of cooking.

    1. j
      jenhen2 RE: cgarner Jan 20, 2012 08:55 AM

      I just made this yesterday. I didn't have a recipe, but here's what I did:

      Saute 1 container of cremini mushrooms in olive oil in a dutch oven until deep golden. Remove from pot. Add a little more oil and add 1 pound diced beef (I used shoulder steak london broil) and brown on all sides. Remove from pot and add 1 diced onion, 3 cloves minced garlic, 4 ribs chopped celery and 1 lb chopped carrots, salt, pepper and dried thyme. When veggies are soft, add back beef, juices that accumulated, and mushrooms with 1 carton swanson beef stock and 2 cups water. Add 1/2 package barley, rinsed, and cook at a simmer for about an hour. Delicious, perfect soup with just the right amount of everything!!! Of course, I should mention, this turned out a little more like a stew and less like a brothy soup, but that's how we like it!!

      1 Reply
      1. re: jenhen2
        ChristinaMason RE: jenhen2 Jul 3, 2012 01:00 PM

        Not that it's really soup or stew weather right now, but that sounds great!!

      2. k
        katecm RE: cgarner Jan 20, 2012 10:47 AM

        My trick? I cook the barley separately. Do a whole bag and add as much as you want once the veggies and meat are done. Know that it will still soak up a bit more liquid but you have more ability to control it. Any leftover barley freezes beautiful for future use.

        3 Replies
        1. re: katecm
          bushwickgirl RE: katecm Jan 20, 2012 05:57 PM

          That is an excellent suggestion. Not only does barley freeze well, but it has a myriad of other uses, from a simple risotto or a pilaf-like side dish at dinner or even a hot cereal in the a.m. are possible. Or more soup!

          1. re: katecm
            j
            Jzone RE: katecm Jan 20, 2012 11:15 PM

            I concur as well to cooking separately and any extras I usually turn into a salad to go with something the next day.

            The only thing I would add is to ensure you use stock (chicken, beef or whatever) to pre cook the barley in and some salt in the liquid while cooking in order to season it before hand. This means it won't suck the flavor out of your soup when added in at the end.

            Cheers.

            1. re: katecm
              c
              cheesecake17 RE: katecm Jan 23, 2012 08:03 AM

              That's what I do also. Works out nicely. Baby likes to eat some of the leftover barley for lunch.
              If I have any left to freeze, I freeze in small ziplocks. I've added it to last minute vegetable soup with good results.

            2. c
              cgarner RE: cgarner Jan 23, 2012 06:17 AM

              Thanks all for your suggestions.

              I did cook the barely separately, in salted water. Turns out that my husband isn’t a fan of barley in beef vegetable soup anyway, so it worked out best for all.

              Two beef shanks, four bones and some leftover pot roast yielded enough stock to make 8 servings of soup. I wound up freezing 6 servings in individual containers for future lunches.

              Roasted the shanks and bones, covered with cold water in the slow cooker, added two small onions, two stalks of celery, two carrots, a bay leaf, a few peppercorns and some parsley stems (went really simple)
              Put the slow cooker with the leftover pot roast pieces set on low and let it cook mostly all day. (couldn’t help myself from scooping marrow out of one of the bones near the end of the process… I love marrow schmeared on crackers)

              Drained it and passed it through a fine mesh sieve. Let it sit overnight and took the fat off the next morning.

              Brought it up to a simmer, added salt to taste, and then added green beans, frozen corn, celery and carrots, simmered till nearly tender and added some chopped zucchini at the very end, added a little more salt. I was considering adding a can of fire roasted tomatoes, but I decided against it. I really liked the flavor just as it was and didn’t want to muck it up.

              Boiled the barley for me and some acini de pepe for my husband and we had a wonderful lunch on Sunday with more to come.
              (I do love soup in the winter)

              1 Reply
              1. re: cgarner
                j
                Jzone RE: cgarner Jan 23, 2012 02:17 PM

                That sounds awesome, I think I'm doing beef barley soup this week :)

                Only things I do different is I smear tomato paste on the beef bones before roasting them to get a slightly richer darker stock. Also I reduce the stock to about 75% of it's volume to concentrate the flavor in between straining it and letting it sit overnight.

                But yummmm and congrats! :)

              2. q
                Querencia RE: cgarner Jul 3, 2012 08:45 AM

                Ratner's, for decades an Article of Faith on New York's Lower East Side, was a restaurant specializing in Jewish "dairy" (no meat) cuisine. Ratner's intense Mushroom and Barley Soup tasted as if it had beef in it, which it didn't. Their cookbook gives a complex recipe with the proportion of 1/2 cup of coarse barley to 2 quarts of water and a lot of vegetables. All ingredients are simmered together for 1 1/2 hours. Instructions do not mention soaking the barley.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Querencia
                  c
                  cgarner RE: Querencia Jul 3, 2012 04:20 PM

                  It's amazing how some soups are meat free, yet can have that 'beefy' taste... (I feel pretentious using the word Umami)

                2. l
                  LUV_TO_EAT RE: cgarner Jul 3, 2012 12:31 PM

                  Almost always make beef barley soup with leftovers from prime rib roast. The meat cut off from the sides of the bone are ultra tasty and tender and the bones lend beefiness to stock/soup.

                  I also end up putting too much barley quite often...it ends up more like a stoup (stew/soup).

                  1. greygarious RE: cgarner Jul 3, 2012 04:40 PM

                    I don't measure, but would say I put a scant 1/3 cup of barley into the pot when it's the starch choice for the kielbasa, cabbage, and apple soup I make often. I don't presoak it. There's a lot of other solid matter in the pot, which makes a tad over 3 qts of soup, so I'm not going for the volume of starch I'd want in something like chicken noodle soup. Barley swells a little as the pot cools, but it does not turn to mush. Rapid cooling helps control how much the starch in a soup pot "grows".

                    1. Ruthie789 RE: cgarner Jul 3, 2012 06:04 PM

                      Do you use pearl barley? It is not as heavy as regular barley and it is smaller and lighter in texture. I use about 1/2 cup of barley for a large pot of soup.

                      1. c
                        cookfood RE: cgarner Jul 6, 2012 07:11 AM

                        i havent read all the posts sorry if this is has already been answered but the americas test kitchen beef veggie soup is excellent and VERY easy. it calls for gelatin to make it a bit more unctious, but we never add it. yum! now only if it wasnt 95 degrees....

                        Show Hidden Posts