Nothing says comfort food like a bowl of Beef Barley Soup. This old-fashioned beef barley soup is loaded with tender chunks of beef, wholesome barley, and a mirepoix of vegetables, making it perfect for those chilly days when your body craves a warm and comforting hearty meal.
My beef barley soup recipe is delicious and satisfying and a great way to get more whole grains and hearty vegetables into your diet. This delicious soup is a full meal on its own, but you can also serve it with a salad, garlic bread, or a big slice of warm crusty bread.
This hearty soup has a beef stew consistency, but you can always add more beef broth if you want it to have a thinner consistency.
Ingredients to make hearty Beef Barley Soup
Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make Beef Barley Soup. In Chef Speak, this is called the “Mise en Place,” which translates to “Everything in its Place.”
Not only does setting up your ingredients ahead of time speed up the cooking process, it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.
Can I add other vegetables to this soup?
You sure can. Add your favorite fresh or frozen vegetables along with additional beef broth to stretch the soup. Green beans, peas, and corn are some of my favorite veggies to add– button or cremini mushrooms are another good addition.
How to make Beef Barley Soup
- Add two tablespoons of olive to a large pot over medium-high heat, then add the beef chunks to the pot in a single layer. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cook the beef for 3-4 minutes on each side, then remove the beef and juices from the pan and set them aside until needed.
- Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the same pot the beef was cooked in over medium-high heat. Then add the carrots, celery, and onion to the pot and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the garlic and tomato paste to the cooked vegetables.
- Mix the tomato paste into the vegetables and let it cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the red wine to the pot to deglaze the pan. Remove the pot from the heat and use a large spoon to scrape all the browned bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan.
*I used chuck roast to make my beef barley soup, but you could also use beef short ribs and let the collagen-rich beef on the bone add additional flavor to the soup
- Add the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, and thyme to the pot, along with the cooked beef chunks.
- Bring the mixture to a light boil, then reduce the temperature to low heat. Let the soup simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. *Skim any excess fat off the top of the soup.
- Add the barley to the soup and continue to simmer the soup for another 45-60 minutes. *As the soup simmers, the broth will reduce, and you’ll need to add water to the soup towards the end of the simmer. I added another 1 ½ cups of water to the soup to get the consistency right.
- Add the chopped parsley to the soup and stir together. Taste and reseason the beef barley soup as needed with salt and black pepper.
Wouldn’t you love to serve this flavorful soup to your family? I know after one spoonful of my Beef Barley Soup, they’ll be asking when you’re going to make it again. This is one of those soup recipes you’ll be making time and time again,.
To make this soup in a slow cooker, follow the recipe as written. Cook the soup on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
To use an Instant Pot,
use the sauté function to brown the beef and cook the vegetables, then cook the soup on high pressure for 25 minutes, followed by a natural pressure release.
Once cooled to room temperature, store the soup in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months
I prefer using collagen-rich cuts of beef like chuck roast for this soup. The longer cooking process makes it tender and allows the flavor to build in the soup.
You can also use any leftover cooked beef — from top round steak to short rib — that you have on hand. You just won’t need to cook the soup for as long.
The short answer is no. The pearl barley will thicken the soup as it cooks, making it a more hearty soup. If you prefer a more brothy soup, you can cook the barley prior to adding it to the soup.
If you want to add it to the soup already cooked, simply boil it for 20-30 minutes.
In some cases, particularly if you use a slow cooking method, the barley can become overcooked. Add the pearl barley uncooked, and it will thicken the soup during the cooking process, making it more hearty.
Yes, you can. Beef barley soup freezes well. Let the soup cool completely, then transfer it to airtight containers or freezer bags, leaving some space for expansion. Freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw the soup in the refrigerator overnight and then warm it gently on the stovetop.