Beef Barley Soup
This soup is lovingly simmered on the stove or in the crock pot to produce the richest Beef Barley Soup recipe I've ever tasted. Shredded carrots and potatoes give it a fabulous, thick texture.
- 2 pounds stew meat, nicely marbled beef chunks
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 10 cups water
- 3 tablespoons beef base, mounded tablespoons good quality*
- 2 cups celery, chopped
- 2 onions, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large potato, peeled and shredded, about 2 cups
- 3-4 large carrots, peeled and shredded, about 2 cups
- 1 cup pearl barley, *** rinsed
Generously salt and pepper the beef. In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
When it is very hot, add about 1/3 of the meat. Brown for about 1-2 minutes, then turn to brown the other side. Remove to a plate when it is browned on all sides.
Repeat with remaining meat in 2 more batches. (If you add it all at once it will steam the meat instead of browning it--not what you want.)
When all the meat is browned, add all the meat back to the pot with 10 cups of water. Add 3 healthy tablespoons beef stock concentrate.
Add the chopped celery, onions, and garlic. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 2 hours with the lid on.
When the meat is tender and you can break it apart easily with a wooden spoon, add the shredded potato and carrots. Bring to a boil, then continue to simmer on low for another 30-45 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.
Add 1 cup of barley. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low. Cook for another half hour, or until barley is tender and the soup tastes...like home.
Slow cooker instructions:
In a large pan, brown the meat according to the instructions. Remove the browned meat to a large crockpot.
Add 2 cups of the water to the pan and bring to a boil. Stir up all the browned bits. Add this and the remaining 8 cups of water to the crock pot.
Add the beef base, celery, onions, and garlic to the slow cooker and stir.
Cook on low for about 6 hours. Add the potatoes and carrots and cook for another hour.
Add the barley and simmer for another hour or so, until it is tender.
*I suggest Better than Bullion Beef Base.
The simmer times on this soup are pretty rough. I let mine simmer all morning because I was feeling a lazy-soup-day. The best kind of day for October.
If your meat is not marbled well, you might want to add a bit of worcestershire sauce toward the end, to boost the flavor.
If your soup has boiled down to become more stew-like, simply add more water and beef base.
** I've had some questions about the green garnish I used for these photos. It's basil, but that's just what was growing in my garden when I made this. No garnish is necessary, but I would recommend parsley or chives if you want a fresh kick.
***UPDATE December 2016: I just made this over Christmas for my family in the crock pot using QUICK barley. I used the same amount. I left it in for maybe 15-30 minutes, but check the package instructions. You could do this on stove top too!
Serving: 1 bowl, Calories: 345 kcal, Carbohydrates: 34 g, Protein: 30 g, Fat: 10 g, Saturated Fat: 2 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5 g, Trans Fat: 1 g, Cholesterol: 70 mg, Sodium: 574 mg, Potassium: 858 mg, Fiber: 7 g, Sugar: 4 g, Vitamin A: 4631 IU, Vitamin C: 14 mg, Calcium: 73 mg, Iron: 4 mg