Barley Beef Soup

I love this soup.  I chopped up a couple of rib eye steaks for this but lesser cuts of beef will work fine.  Start some coarsely chopped onions simmering in beef broth, add the barley.  I like to add plenty, give yourself enough time to see how much what you’ve added actually amounts to if you haven’t used it before, it swells up quite a bit.  Start at 1/4 cup per quart and add more as you see fit.

Brown the cubed beef well in a skillet then deglaze with plenty of red wine, stirring to get the nice bits off the bottom, then add all of that to the broth.  Continue the simmer, adding more broth and/or barley as you go.  I add bay leaves and a bundle of fresh thyme, a couple tablespoons of mushroom soy sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and ground pepper.  Simmer until the onions have all but disappeared.  Thicken, as needed, with a cornstarch slurry .

Beef and Barley Vegetable Soup

DSC_9314 (1600x1060)

JeffreyW makes mouths water with this photo of his Beef and Barley Soup (with bonus foccacia recipe here)

It has been unseasonably cold here. Today was the first day that I could actually open the windows. So soup seemed like a good idea over the weekend. Chuck roast was on sale for the amazing price of $2.99 lb. So I bought several large pieces, cut them up to dinner size and a couple pounds up for soup and stew. First up was this soup.

Beef & Barley Vegetable Soup

  • olive oil
  • 1 lb chuck, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 8 cups of water (or water and vegetable broth**)
  • 12 oz sliced carrots (frozen ok)
  • 12 oz green beans (frozen ok)
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp salt (more as desired)
  • 2 bay leaves (remove before serving)

large saucepan

Heat oil in saucepan, sauté onions for 1 minute, add beef and brown on all sides, add garlic and sauté for 1 minute making sure not to burn the garlic. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a low boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer for 40 minutes to 1 hour, until barley is tender.  Serve with biscuits or cornbread.

**For vegetable broth,  I blend the tomatoes, and an additional 6 oz of carrots, 6 oz of green beans, 2 stalks of the celery, 1 cup water into a smooth puree, to make a hearty base for the soup.  I like the hearty stock.



Vegetable Beef and Barley Soup

DSC_1180 (1600x1060)The local market ran a big sale on beef roasts, we bought a few to vacuum seal and freeze but be saved one out for use.  The croutons are from the loaf of beer bread we made a few days ago and they worked fine.  I had a bottle of Marsala out and, on a whim, deglazed the pot with it after browning the meat.  It added an interesting note to the finished soup.

Mmm… Soup

DSC_6527 [1600x1200]… because it cooled off overnight into the mid-fifties.  This one is beef and onions with barley, one of my favorites.  There is a slice of havarti on top, along with a puddle of butter because I am old and slow to trip the shutter.  DSC_6524 [1600x1200]And a sammich, because.. soup ‘n sammich!  We had leftover cheesesteak from the cheesesteak fries the other night and I saved the meat and cheese in the same container so it was reheated together.  Pretty sloppy so I toasted slices from a load of garlic bread to contain it.


It’s been cool and cloudy all day here.  Before she went to the shelter to spend a few quality hours cleaning cages and feeding the critters Mrs J dug a bag of stew beef out of the freezer.  I’m always game for beef and barley soup.  My take on the recipe is to add a couple of roughly chopped onions.  This reminded me so much of the classic French onion soup I decided to treat it much the same way in presentation.  I lightly trimmed and toasted slices of my latest sourdough white bread and floated them atop the soup, then added some muenster cheese on the croutons and a good sprinkle of grated asiago over everything.  Gave this a brief toasting under the broiler and served it with a caution that the bowl was going to be hot.

I’m rather pleased with the way the soup turned out.

I noticed yesterday when I returned from the store and was putting the groceries away that I had bought a big box of baby spinach leaves-forgetting that I already had a big box of them.  I’ll be making something of those tomorrow, I think.  Any ideas?  A classic spinach salad always works for me.  I did notice a recipe for sautéd spinach in garlic oil that looked great.  I do have some riccota so something in a stuffed pasta shell would work.  Stay tuned!

Delayed at the Beach

I’m finally back.  And I must say my life sucks.  I was about ready to leave for the airport yesterday when I found out my flight was delayed by a big snow storm in Denver.  So I had to spend an extra day on the beach and with really good company.  Don’t know how I manged to get through it.

I did have to scrape 10 inches of snow off my car at the airport, but other than that my return home was uneventful.  Had some good food in LA, and I’ll share as the week goes on.  Right now I’m making a big pot of Beef, Barley and Vegetable Soup.  Nothing special, just threw some beef, barley, and vegetables  in a pot, along with a can of diced tomatoes, add water and spices and cook until barley is tender (45-60 minutes).  My spices of choice tonight were garlic, basil, oregano, fennel, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper.  Nothing special, but easy and tasty.

Perfect for a 5 degree week.

Catching Up

I’ve been a terrible blogger these past weeks and I beg your forgiveness and your patience.  I’ll be travelling again this week, so blogging will be light.  But once I return, I’ll get back up to speed.  I haven’t been much in the mood for cooking these days, but today I got a great idea, so I may have some new inspirations in the weeks to come.

The Thanksgiving feast was wonderful.  My brother and SIL injected a fresh turkey with lemon and butter, then deep fried it. It was a great bird.  We topped it off with the usuals: green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and stuffing.  Lots of different pies and fudge finished off the meal.

For lunches this week I’ve made a cream of chicken soup – a recipe I want to work on a couple more times before I post it – and Spicy Beef and Barley Soup, which I’ve changed up just a bit.  I had purchased a large quantity of fresh ground beef and decided to use that instead of stew beef and I thought fennel would be a nice addition.  Made a very tasty soup and since it will snow tonight, a welcome lunch at work tomorrow.

How was your Thanksgiving holiday?  Besides JeffW’s turducken, anyone have anything unusually tasty at your holiday meal?