Beef with Barley Soup

by Erin

My experiments at lab seem to have me functioning in awkward and inconvenient time frames a lot the past 3 months. Thankfully the results have been pretty good thus far, so I suppose I shouldn’t complain so long as it continues to cooperate. It is comforting to feel like your efforts weren’t for nothing.

Speaking of things being comforting how about this soup?

Yes I just made yet another cheesy transition. (Are you keeping count on how many times I do that?) But truly I loved this soup. This soup actually almost didn’t even happen. First it appears that barley is a rare commodity in these parts, so it took awhile to even find that final ingredient after I originally saw this recipe. And then when I was ready to make it one weeknight, I neglected to read the recipe through ahead of time (fail) and realized dinner wouldn’t be ready for a little over 3 hours. I may have had dessert for dinner and then dinner for dessert that night.

So the lesson here is to first live in an area that has decent grocery stores, and second to read recipes fully before you make them! Unless you like having soup for dessert. (I have to admit however, I didn’t mind ending my meals for the day on the note of this soup.)


Serves 8


2 Tbsp olive oil

1 lb. beef cubes (for stew)

1 large onion, medium diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 large carrots, smaller ends cut into rounds, larger ends diced

2 russet potatoes, peeled and large diced

1-1/2 tsp seasoning salt

1 tsp salt

Ground black pepper, to taste

6 cups beef stock

2 cups water, if needed

1/2 cups pearl barley

1/2 tsp thyme

1 whole bay leaf

1 can (14.5 oz.) petite diced tomatoes


  1. Heat a large stock pot over medium high heat. Add the olive oil.
  2. Brown the beef cubes for three minutes in the oil, then add the onions and garlic. Lower the heat to medium low and cook until the onions are cooked and just start to caramelize. Stir as needed to keep onions and garlic from burning. Lower heat if necessary; drizzle a little more olive oil if needed to keep food from sticking.
  3. Add everything except the tomatoes to the pot and stir well. Increase the heat and bring the soup to a boil, then turn heat to low, cover pot, and simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally. Adjust heat as necessary to keep soup at a slow simmer. If the soup thickens too much, add a little more water or broth.
  4. Taste to correct seasonings, then add tomatoes and simmer for another hour. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Source: Tasty Kitchen, discovered on How Sweet It Is.


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Joanna @ Chic & Gorgeous Treats March 1, 2012 - 8:24 pm

Hi Erin! I have recently discovered soup cooked with barley is delicious. This recipe is something quite new to me, and it sure looks delish and wholesome to the tummy. Can’t wait to try this out. Btw, THANKS for buzzing me over at my blog too. Much appreciated. You have a good weekend ahead!! xoxo

Katie February 21, 2012 - 10:13 pm

Yum! That’s such a cute little soup pot, too!

Tracey February 21, 2012 - 8:14 pm

Oh yum, this sounds so good!! I often make the mistake of not reading through recipes before starting. It really comes back to bite me when I come across an overnight rest period :)

spiffycookie February 22, 2012 - 9:47 am

I know that is such a bummer!

Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers February 20, 2012 - 7:05 pm

The soup looks wonderful. I never made Beef & Barley, I going to have to try your recipe! Looks fantastic perfect for a cold evening!

Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts February 20, 2012 - 3:34 pm

I love beef and barley together. This soup looks comforting and perfect for cold winter nights!

Emily @ Life on Food February 20, 2012 - 10:57 am

I think this is one soup that my husband would actually eat. Beef in the name helps out a lot to that end. Looks very yummy!

[email protected] February 20, 2012 - 10:50 am

This looks so warm and comforting! I love barley because it reminds me of oatmeal :)

[email protected] February 20, 2012 - 8:26 am

I used to have trouble finding barley too, before we moved a block from a Whole Foods. But I finally found it in a Polish deli in our old neighborhood. Go figure. But this soup looks wonderful! So homey and warm and perfect for winter. Yum!

Maureen February 20, 2012 - 8:21 am

I love barley soup. I have wonderful food memories of boarding school and barley soup. weird I know.

I’ll make this and see if it tastes like the nuns’ :)

Cassie February 20, 2012 - 7:52 am

This sounds scrumptious, Erin. I love beef/barley combo!

Miriam @ Overtime Cook February 20, 2012 - 7:49 am

I love soup! This looks like the ultimate comfort food!


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