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Beef Barley Soup

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Beef Barley Soup is pure comfort! It’s loaded with tender chuck roast, veggies, barley and a savory broth. A great way to warm up on a cool day.

Can we all agree that one of the absolute best things about cold blustery fall days, or freezing snowy winter days is the soups that are simmering on our stove? Soups like creamy Clam Chowder, a brothy Sausage Tortellini Soup, Classic Split Pea with Ham or this Beef Barley Soup.

If you love beef stew, you are going to love this recipe. It’s very similar in that it has tender chunks of beef, vegetables and a savory broth. But while most beef stews have potatoes, this Beef and Barley Soup gets its heartiness from pearl barley.

Let’s talk more about what is in Beef Barley Soup:

Beef Barley Soup Ingredients:

Beef barley soup ingredients.
  • BEEF CHUCK ROAST: Beef chuck roast is my favorite roast to use in soups and stews because it is a less expensive cut of beef but when it cooks slow it gets unbelievably tender.
  • FLOUR: Coating the chuck roast in flour will give it a bit of a crust when you sear it, while also helping the soup thicken up a bit as it cooks.
  • BUTTER/OLIVE OIL: To sear the beef.
  • CARROTS/CELERY/ONION: Sometimes called “Mirepoix”, this is the flavor base for so many sauces and soups.
  • GARLIC: I prefer to use fresh garlic in all my recipes instead of the jarred. If that is what you have on hand use the equivalent of 6 cloves.
  • LOW-SODIUM BEEF BROTH: I prefer to use low-sodium broth when I make soups because generally broth can be very salty. Using low-sodium broth allows you to better control the overall saltiness of the dish.
  • THYME: Thyme is an herb that has a peppery flavor. I use 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme but you can substitute 1 teaspoon of dried thyme if that is what you have on hand.
  • WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE: This adds a deep, rich umami flavor to the soup.
  • PEARL BARLEY: A barley that has had the husk removed and has been polished. I used Bob’s Red Mill Pearl Barley.

Step by Step Photos and Instructions:

Like most soups, this Beef Barley Soup comes together fairly easily. Follow along with these step by step photos instructions detailing just how easy it is.

  • Step #1: Cut chuck roast into bite sized pieces and season liberally with salt and pepper. Coat in flour.
  • Step #2: Heat butter and olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Once melted cook the beef in batches until browned. Remove from pot and set aside.
  • Step #3: Sauté the carrots, celery, onions and garlic the same pot over medium heat. Until softened, about 5 minutes. Return beef to the pot.
  • Step #4: Add in the beef broth, thyme and Worcestershire sauce. Turn to low and simmer for 1 hour. Skim the foam that rises to the top off as it cooks.
  • Step #5: Add in barley. Cook an additional 90 minutes or until barley and beef are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Storage and Leftovers:

You can store this in the refrigerator for a few days. Keep in mind the barley will start to absorb the broth the longer it sits in the fridge. To reheat, place soup in a pot and add a little bit of water so that you’ll get a soup consistency.

Should barley be cooked before adding to soup?

No need to cook the barley before adding it to the soup! It will cook in the soup.

Do you have to soak barley before adding it to soup?

Nope! No need to soak before adding it to the soup. It will become tender as it cooks without soaking.

Is there a difference between barley and pearl barley?

Pearl barley is barley that has had the outer husk and bran layer removed. It has also been polished.

Recipe FAQ

Looking for more beef recipes? Try these:

Creamy Steak and Mushroom Soup is another beefy soup recipe to warm up on a cold winter day.

Cajun Pot Roast with tomato gravy is a twist on the classic pot roast recipe.

Grilled Flat Iron Steak with Balsamic Rosemary is my go to when I want a real show stopper!

Beef Barley Soup

Beef Barley Soup is pure comfort! It's loaded with tender chuck roast, veggies, barley and a savory broth. A great way to warm up on a cool day.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 411 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 3 pounds chuck roast trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 carrots diced
  • 3 celery ribs diced
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
  • 8 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • parsley optional garnish

Instructions
 

  • Season the roast pieces liberally with salt and pepper. Place into a dish with a cover or a resealable plastic bag and toss with flour. Make sure each piece is coated.
  • Melt butter in olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook the beef pieces, in batches if necessary, until browned. Set aside.
  • In the same large pot, add carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Cook until vegetables start to soften. About 5 minutes. Return beef to the pot.
  • Add in beef broth, thyme and worcestershire sauce. Allow to cook for 1 hour. Skim off any foam that rises to the top.
  • Add in barley and cook for an additional 90 minutes or until the barley and beef are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley if desired.

Notes

To get the best sear on the beef it is probably better to cook the beef in batches until browned. Depending on how much fat the beef releases as it cooks, you may have to add an additional teaspoon or so of oil as you cook. 
Skimming the foam and fat from the top is optional but I find that it makes the overall soup less greasy. 
When storing the barley tends to absorb some of the liquid as it cools making the leftovers pretty thick. I was able to add a little water to the dish when I was reheating it so that it had more of a soup consistency. 
Nutrition information for estimation purposes only. 

Nutrition

Calories: 411kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 39gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 118mgSodium: 618mgPotassium: 1156mgFiber: 3gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 602IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 54mgIron: 4mg
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Des

Hey! I'm Des!

Welcome to Life’s Ambrosia where Dinner is served and memories are made. Here you will find over 1000 tried and true recipes for every possible occasion. In the last 10 years, this blog has helped millions of families put dinner on the table and create food memories. Let me help you too.

Read more »

Have new recipes emailed to you.