Beef Barley Soup; forecasting the weather

This was one of my favorite soups as a child, though I ate the condensed, canned version, not home made.

This is better.

For a shortcut version use a decent canned beef stock / broth rather than home-made, but the home-made is so easy why not make it?

As with most soups, this is flexible…. Add your favorite vegetables

It’s best to make the stock the day before to allow ample time for chilling so you can remove the fat.

You can leave it simmering on the stove top for hours – longer is better as it releases more flavor from the beef and collagen from the bones giving the soup a luscious ‘mouth feel’.

Beef Stock

Time:  4 hours


  • 2 – 3 pounds beef short ribs, chuck roast (with bone) or soup bones
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 carrot, cut into large chunks
  • 2 ribs celery – or the tops from a bunch of celery, cut into large chunks
  • 1 bouquet Garni
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbs olive oil


  • Heat oil in large pot.
  • Brown the beef very well on all sides over medium high heat, about 20 minutes.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and enough water to cover the meat, or 10 cups whichever is more.
  • Cover and simmer over low heat for several hours.
  • Remove meat and chill until needed.
  • Strain soup and chill at least 2 hours – this allows the fat to congeal on the surface for easy removal.

Beef Barley Soup

Total time: 90 minutes


  • 20oz (600gr) lean beef, or the beef left from making stock
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 6 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 cups (15oz (450gr) whole tomatoes, chopped, with juices
  • 10 cups beef stock
  • 1 cup pearl barley or 1 1/2 cups quick cooking barley
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 1 bay (laurel) leaf
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbs oil


  • If you didn’t make stock:
  • Cut beef into bite-size pieces.
  • Heat oil in the soup pot.
  • Add beef and brown well. Remove and set aside.
  • Proceed with adding vegetables. 
  • If you made stock:
  • Take the meat off any bones, trim off any fat and cut into bite-size pieces, set aside.
  • Heat oil in soup pot.
  • Add onions, celery, carrots as you chop them, stirring. Fry until starting to get tender.
  • Add stock, tomatoes with juices, herbs and spices. Heat to boiling.
  • Add barley, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 40 – 60 minutes, until vegetables are tender and barley is done.
  • Add beef and heat through. Serve.

Print Recipe

The leftovers will freezer very well and be a welcome, easy lunch or dinner this winter.

Nighttime winter weather forecasting chez nous:

When I open the door to let the dogs back inside I hold my hand at dog height so they run under it.

If they’re dry it means the sky is clear and it will be a cold night…. Best run the heater in the cave for a bit to keep the veggies and the wine from freezing.

If they’re damp it means the low fog is still covering the area and the temperature will hold steady all night.

If they’re wet it means it’s raining and will probably warm up overnight.

If Bonnie starts barking immediately it means it’s raining hard at the moment and we’re going to have a very muddy walk in the morning.

I think we have now officially started the boring segment of winter.

More soup!

Last update on January 11 2017

3 thoughts on “Beef Barley Soup; forecasting the weather”

  1. This soup sounds wonderful – it would be great with quinoa too. We love soup of any kind, especially on cold winter nights. It has been – 9 degrees celcius in our neck of the woods – unusually cold for us…think it is time for soup!

  2. Ina, quinoa would be good – but I have a particular fondness for barley in soups lol It’s been very cold here, too.

    Kate, no leftovers – but a few containers in the freezer…. Lunch!

Comments are closed.

Share via
Copy link