Beef Barley Soup

Hearty Comfort: Beef Barley Soup Recipe

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Welcome to the cozy comforts of homemade Beef Barley Soup! A classic dish that warms the soul and satisfies the palate, this hearty soup is perfect for chilly days or when you crave a comforting meal. With tender beef, wholesome barley, and flavorful vegetables, each spoonful is a comforting embrace. Join us as we embark on a culinary journey to create this nourishing and delicious Beef Barley Soup from scratch.

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  • 1 pound beef stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)


  1. Brown the Beef: In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef stew meat and cook until browned on all sides, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the beef from the pot and set aside.
  2. Sauté Vegetables: In the same pot, add the diced onion, carrots, celery, and minced garlic. Sauté until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Combine Ingredients: Return the browned beef to the pot. Pour in the beef broth and add the pearl barley and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Simmer: Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the beef is tender and the barley is cooked through.
  5. Adjust Seasoning: Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. Remove the bay leaves before serving.
  6. Serve: Ladle the hot Beef Barley Soup into bowls and garnish with chopped fresh parsley, if desired. Serve with crusty bread for a complete meal.

Cook’s Notes and Variations:

  • Beef Options: Feel free to use other cuts of beef suitable for stewing, such as chuck roast or beef shank.
  • Vegetable Variations: Add other vegetables to the soup, such as potatoes, parsnips, or peas, for extra flavor and nutrition.
  • Slow Cooker Method: To make this soup in a slow cooker, brown the beef and sauté the vegetables as directed. Transfer everything to a slow cooker along with the remaining ingredients and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
  • Vegetarian Version: Omit the beef and use vegetable broth instead of beef broth for a vegetarian barley soup. Add extra vegetables or legumes, such as mushrooms or lentils, for protein and texture.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

  1. Can I use pre-cooked beef for this soup? Yes, you can use leftover cooked beef, such as roast beef or pot roast, in this soup. Simply add the cooked beef to the pot along with the vegetables and broth, and simmer until heated through.
  2. Can I make this soup ahead of time? Yes, Beef Barley Soup actually tastes better the next day as the flavors have time to meld together. Store the soup in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and reheat on the stove or in the microwave before serving.
  3. Can I freeze Beef Barley Soup? Yes, this soup freezes well. Allow it to cool completely before transferring it to airtight containers or freezer bags. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  4. Is barley gluten-free? No, barley contains gluten, so this soup is not suitable for those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. You can substitute the barley with a gluten-free grain such as quinoa or brown rice for a gluten-free version of the soup.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions: For those following a keto or low-carb lifestyle, here are some modifications you can make to adapt this recipe:

  • Beef Substitute: Replace the pearl barley with cauliflower rice or chopped cauliflower for a low-carb option.
  • Vegetable Base: Increase the amount of vegetables in the soup and add leafy greens such as spinach or kale for added fiber and nutrients.
  • Broth Choice: Use homemade bone broth or a low-sodium beef broth to control the amount of carbs in the soup.

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In conclusion, Beef Barley Soup is a comforting and nourishing dish that’s perfect for any occasion. With its rich flavor, hearty ingredients, and simple preparation, it’s a recipe that’s sure to become a staple in your kitchen. Whether enjoyed as a cozy meal on a cold winter’s night or as a satisfying lunch any day of the week, this soup is a true comfort food classic. Get creative with variations and adaptations to suit your taste preferences, and savor each spoonful of this delicious Beef Barley Soup.

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