This is the best beef and barley soup according to my husband at least. Chunks of beef surrounded by barley, mushrooms, carrots in a savory thyme tomato broth.
This soup is a staple in our household because it’s my hubby’s favorite. It’s full of tender, juicy pieces of beef along with mushrooms, carrots and barley all in a savory broth of tomatoes and thyme. It’s delicious and that is why I think it’s the best beef and barley soup! I always make a big pot of it because we like to have it the next day for lunch. It’s almost a meal on its own but it goes nicely with a good melty cheese sandwich on a cold winter day.
I adapted this recipe from one of my favorite cookbook authors, Pam Anderson. No not the Baywatch Pam Anderson but a fabulous author whom I learned a lot of basic cooking techniques from. When my hubby told me that beef and barley soup was his favorite many years ago I remember seeing the recipe in one of my cookbooks that claimed she’d perfected the recipe and I think she did. I have a few of her cookbooks but the two below are my favorites. Note: These are affiliate links below and if you click on the link and buy them I get a small commission at no extra charge to you. But I’m sure you can find them at other places and I really do think they are great books.
How to Cook Without a Book taught me how to sear a steak and cook a cutlet, among other things. If you are very new to cooking, I would highly recommend this book as it teaches you all the basics of cooking a good meal for your family or friends. Now that I think about it, this would be great as a wedding present for new cooks… maybe in addition to other cooking items or in a gift basket. I’ll have to remember that for myself. 😉
In The Perfect Recipe she has perfected everyday classics like meatloaf and chicken pot pie and beef and barley soup! Which is where I learned the basics of this recipe. In addition to everyday classics she has perfected special dinners such as roasted turkey and prime rib. Learn about making stock, bread and more.
On to our recipe. The most important part is making this meat tender. Now you could use a pressure cooker and I used to do that way back when but I haven’t used one in 10 years so this is now my new method that I learned in the above books. You start by browning the beef cubes in your stock pan with a little water or beef broth and some onions. You then loosely cover the pot and let it simmer until the meat is tender. This can take anywhere from a half hour to an hour. You have to watch and add more water or broth if the liquid evaporates. I use this technique in a lot of my Lebanese recipes, curries and stews. Nothing is worse to me than tough, chewy meat.:p
Best Beef and Barley Soup
The rest of the soup recipe is pretty straight forward and you can find it below. I hope you get a chance to try this recipe and see if becomes one of your favorite’s too. Enjoy!
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 1 lb beef cut into bite sized pieces (chuck, top round, stew meat, etc)
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- ½ cup barley
- 1 8oz package of mushrooms, sliced
- 1 quart beef stock
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon garlic
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped
- In a stock pan, add your oil, onions and beef cubes.
- When beef is browned, add enough water to almost cover the beef.
- Bring to a simmer and cover loosely with the lid skewed.
- Simmer for 30 minutes -1 hour until the meat is soft. Check often and add more water if it evaporates. When the meat is cooked there should be a bit of liquid left.
- Take out the meat and set aside.
- In the same stock pan, add another Tablespoon of olive oil along with the carrots and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
- Then add your mushrooms and continue to sauté for another 2 minutes.
- Next add your stock, tomatoes, garlic, thyme and cooked meat.
- Bring to a boil and then add your barley.
- Cook for 45 minutes or until barley is tender.
- Add your parsley and cook for 1 more minute.
- Serve immediately.