Rich, hearty and deeply satisfying, Beef and Barley Soup is a simple, one pot, complete meal everyone in your family will love. For most soups I make, I start with a trio of gently cooked veggies: onions, celery and carrots, this creates an amazing background to the soup that is subtle and delicious. Once I create the base, I can adapt and create, taking the soup in whichever direction I want.
This trio of onions, carrots, and celery is a very old, traditional way of flavoring soups, stews, stocks, and sauces, most countries have some variation of this cooking technique. The French refer to it as a ‘Mirepoix’, the Italians call it a ‘Soffritto’, and the Germans call this ‘Suppengrün’, and so forth, and so on, you get the idea. I refer to it as a ‘mirepoix’, it’s the term I learned growing up, so I just stick with it.
For this Beef and Barley Soup, in addition to the basic mirepoix, I add mushrooms, garlic, and tomatoes. These add additional richness and complexity to the beef and the barley. Serve this soup with a crusty loaf of bread and it is pure Heaven.
Here is how I make my Beef and Barley Soup:
- ½ Pound Beef, Stew Meat, ½ inch dice
- 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 3 Cups Diced Onions
- 1 Clove Garlic, Crushed and Chopped
- 1 ½ Cups Chopped Celery
- 4 Cups Carrots
- 1 Pound Cremini Mushrooms, Quartered
- 3 Cups Diced Tomatoes
- 3 Bay Leaves
- 1 Tablespoon Dried Thyme
- 1 ½ Teaspoons Salt
- 1 ½ Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 1 Cup Pearl Barley
- 2 Quarts Beef Stock
- 1 Cup Green Peas
- 1 Bunch Parsley
-Place a large pot over medium-high heat, add olive oil and brown the beef in small batches so they brown well.
-Add the onions, salt and all the beef, sauté for 5 minutes until soft
-Add the herbs, barley, black pepper, and all the remaining vegetables except green peas
-Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and let the vegetables sweat for 15 minutes
-Add the beef stock, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the barley is cooked.
-Remove from the heat, add the green peas, serve and garnish with chopped fresh parsley