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Beef Barley Soup – A Thick & Hearty Soup Recipe Full Of Flavor

This week I am adding another thick and hearty soup to our collection with this Beef Barley Soup recipe. Tender chunks of beef, plump pearls of barley, and tender, perfectly cooked vegetables all cooked together in a rich and delicious broth.

Although the weather is starting to turn from bitter cold to crisp and cool, and the unofficial ‘soup season’ is ending, there is always a reason to make a warming bowl of soup.

When Spring arrives, we all anticipate the days that we can get outside and enjoy the warmer temperatures. Whether we are starting to prepare our garden or just enjoying a simple walk outside without the risk of ice below our feet, Spring is a promising time for all of us.

beef and barley soup

As hopeful as we are for a plethora of sunny days with blue skies, we all know that there will be days that are chilly, if not down right cold. And then there are those days that we are stuck inside as the rain falls down from the sky to water our tulips, crocuses, and daffodils.

Comfort Food Recipes

On those days that we must spend inside, we often look for something warming and delicious to make for dinner. Over the winter months comfort food recipes, like Chicken and Dumplings, Meatloaf, and Beef Tips over Noodles are often made.

Then there are the soups and stews like homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, Potato Soup, and Beef Vegetable soup that take center stage. However, have you ever thought about making Beef Barley soup and add it to the rotation?

To be honest, it had never occurred to me to make this iconic soup. That is most likely because barley has never been a grain that I have stored in my kitchen.

However, after tasting barley in a salad at a restaurant when we were traveling, I fell in love with the slightly nutty flavor that it provides. So I decided that I needed to expand my horizons and see what else that I could make with barley.

barley grain
Pearl barley is full of nutrients and has more fiber and less fat than wheat grains.

Of course, the most popular recipes that include this ancient grain are soups. It became extremely popular in Scotland with the famous Scotch Broth. The soup consisted of barley, stewing or braising cuts of lamb, mutton or beef, root vegetables, and dried beans, peas, or lentils. 

However, over the centuries, this recipe has developed into various versions of the classic soup, depending on the geographic location. The most common being beef, barley and vegetables in a thick and hearty broth.

But before we get to the actual recipe, let me explain a little more about the ancient grain.

Wheat vs. Barley

Wheat and barley are crops that belong to the grass family. However wheat is most often ground into flour and used in baked goods and other foods, while barley is mostly eaten in whole grain or pearled form.

When dried, barley can lasts for months. And when it is cooked the grain triples in size and therefore a great grain to add to soups and stews.

Although they both contain gluten and have similar nutritional benefits, barley contains less fat and more fiber than wheat. And its nutty flavor blends well with winter vegetables like carrots and celery.

Therefore, it is the perfect addition to soups and stews.

Beef and Barley Soup Recipe

*Complete recipe instructions including specific measurements, cook temperatures and times are located in a printable recipe card at the bottom of this article. However, be sure to keep reading for helpful tips and tricks when making this recipe.

carrots, celery and onion
Chop the vegetables before starting the cooking process because once you get everything on the stove, the initial part of this recipe goes very quickly.

INGREDIENTS

  • Chuck roast, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Olive oil, divided
  • Carrots, chopped
  • Ribs celery, chopped
  • Sweet onion
  • Tomato paste
  • Garlic cloves, minced
  • Beef broth, low-sodium
  • Dry red wine*
  • Low-sodium soy sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Dried rosemary
  • Dried thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Pearl barley
  • Minced fresh parsley, chopped

*If you do not want to use dry red wine in your recipe, substitute additional beef broth.

STOVE TOP INSTRUCTIONS

1. The first step in making Beef Barley Soup, is to heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

2. Pat the cubed chuck roast dry with paper towels. Then working in batches, add 1/2 of the beef cubes to the pot. Season the beef with salt and pepper.

Sear until the bottom of the beef is brown, which will take approximately 3 minutes. Then flip and brown the meat on the other side for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Once the first batch is done, transfer the meat to a plate or bowl. Then add another tablespoon of oil to the pot and repeat with the remaining beef. Remove the meat and set aside.

chuck roast
Beef barley soup is best made with a chuck roast. Cut the meat into bite size pieces and let it simmer for a couple of hours.

3. Now add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the same pot. Add the chopped carrots, celery and onion to the pot and saute for 3-4 minutes.

4. Once the vegetables are warm and beginning to sweat, add the tomato paste and garlic and saute for one minute longer. Then pour in the beef broth, wine, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper to taste.

5. Using a wooden spatula, deglaze the bottom of the pot to remove any stuck bits that may be on the bottom of the pot before continuing on with the rest of this Beef Barley Soup recipe. Then return the beef to pot and bring the mixture to a simmer.

Stove Top Cook Time

Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Let the mixture maintain a low simmer, stirring occasionally for 45-60 minutes. The beef will start to break down, but will not be completely tender at this point.

6. Add the pearl barley to the pot. Then cover and simmer until the barley is cooked through and beef is tender. This will require 1 additional hour of cooking after the barley has been added.

Serve warm with a garnish of chopped fresh parsley and a piece of Irish Soda Bread.

saute vegetables
Once the beef has been browned, add a little more oil and the vegetables to the pot. Be sure to deglaze the bottom of the pot to remove any brown bits.

CROCK POT INSTRUCTIONS

1. Sear the beef cubes as instructed above in a large pot with olive oil.

2. Transfer the seared beef cubes to a crock pot with the remaining ingredients, including the barley but excluding the parsley.

3. Cook on low 7 – 8 hours then stir in the parsley and serve.

INSTANT POT INSTRUCTIONS

1. Press saute button and add the 1 tablespoon of oil. Once the display reads HOT, brown beef cubes in 2 – 3 batches, adding more oil as needed. Press Cancel and return all beef to Instant Pot.

2. Add remaining ingredients, reducing the red wine to 1 cup instead of 2, and including the barley but not the parsley. Reducing the liquid is required because it will not evaporate as much as when cooked using the other cooking methods.

3. Lock the lid in place and move valve to the sealed position. Pressure cook/manual on HIGH pressure for 20 minutes.

beef barley soup
Although beef barley soup broth is made from a combination of beef broth and dry red wine, you can substitute chicken stock in the recipe if you prefer.

4. Once the cook time is up let the pressure come down naturally for 10 minutes. Then perform a slow Quick Release Pressure by slowly moving the knob to the Venting position.

Remove the lid and let it steam on the Keep Warm setting for 10 minutes before stirring in the parsley and serving.

However you decide to make Beef Barley Soup, I am sure it will become one of your favorite comfort food meals! Be sure to save this recipe for the next time you are looking for a warm, hearty meal.

Enjoy!

Mary and Jim

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Beef and Barley Soup

beef and barley soup

Classic beef and barley soup made with a chuck roast, vegetables and barley simmered in a rich beef broth sauce until nice and tender.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs chuck roast, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 large ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups beef broth, low-sodium
  • 2 cups dry red wine*
  • 1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 3 Tbsp minced fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Pat the cubed chuck roast dry and working in batches, add 1/2 of the beef cubes to the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Sear until the bottom is browned, approximately 3 minutes, then flip and brown on the other side for an additional 2-3 minutes. Transfer beef in pot to a plate or bowl and add 1 Tbsp to the pot and repeat with the remaining beef. Remove the meat and set aside.
  2. Add 1 Tbsp oil to the same pot. Add carrots, celery and onion and saute 3-4 minutes. Add tomato paste and garlic and saute 1 minute longer.
  3. Pour in broth, wine*, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Deglaze the bottom of the pot if necessary using a wooden spatula.
  4. Return beef to pot and bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and keep the mixture at a low simmer until beef is fairly tender, about 45 - 60 minutes.
  5. Add barley, cover and simmer until cooked through and beef is tender, about 45 - 60 minutes longer.

Crock Pot Instructions

  1. Sear the beef cubes as instructed in a pot with olive oil.
  2. Transfer the seared beef cubes to a crock pot with the remaining ingredients, including the barley but excluding the parsley.
  3. Cook on low 7 - 8 hours then stir in parsley and serve.

Instant Pot Instructions

  1. Press saute button on pressure cooker. Add oil.
  2. Once the display reads HOT, brown beef cubes in 2 - 3 batches. Turn to "off" setting. Return all beef to Instant Pot.
  3. Add remaining ingredients (except parsley) reducing the wine to 1 cup.
  4. Lock the lid in place and move valve to the sealed position. Pressure cook/manual on HIGH pressure for 20 minutes.
  5. Once cooking time is up let pressure come down naturally for 10 minutes, Then perform a slow Quick Release Pressure by slowly moving the knob to the Venting position. Remove the lid and let it steam on the Keep Warm setting for 10 minutes before stirring in the parsley and serving.

Notes

*If you do not want to use dry red wine in your recipe, substitute additional beef broth.

Recipe courtesy of Old World Garden Farms

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 392Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 94mgSodium: 363mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 31g

Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.

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