Nothing compares to a warm, comforting and hearty bowl of beef soup in the winter. One of my go-to beef soups is this beef and barley. The barley adds a lovely mild nutty and sweet flavor to the soup. Given there are only a few ingredients in this soup, it is important to use the highest quality beef stock you can. I recommend making a homemade stock (link below). However, for a quick and easy weekday meal a good quality store bought stock will also work. If you are using a store bought stock I would recommend using the optional herbs in the recipe below. In our homemade stock the flavor of the herbs is already there.
What type of beef to use? For a homemade beef soup or stew I would avoid buying anything labeled “Stew Meat”. This is usually older cuts of meat they need to sell. It is also more expensive than buying the meat and cutting it yourself. Since we are going to let the beef simmer a cheaper cut such as top round, or even bottom round will work. That being said, you can also splurge on more expensive cuts and even add been ribs. I tend to avoid the more expensive cuts though if I am using a homemade stock since it will already have a more beefy flavor.
Check out our Homemade Beef Stock here!
Beef and Barley Soup
A hearty, comforting and healthy beef soup with barley.
Prepare the beef and vegetables
Wash and dice the vegetables in to small pieces. Prepare the beef by cutting into 1" cubes. Sprinkle over 2 generous tablespoons of flour onto the beef and mix to coat all of it.
Prepare the base of the soup
In a large stockpot on medium-high heat add a tablespoon of oil. Add the beef and let sear on each side for a couple minutes or until golden brown. We want to add as much color to the beef to flavor the soup.
Turn the heat to medium-low and add the vegetables.
Once the vegetables are softened add the stock. Bring up to a simmer and continue cooking for another 30-45 minutes.
Add the barley and cook for 15 minutes.At this stage the soup can be enjoyed as is. However, if you like a thicker soup mix 3 tablespoons of flour in a 1/2 cup of water and add to the soup. This will thicken it up. If you want it even thicker, add more flour and water mixture. Make sure to mix the flour and water together before adding to the soup to avoid lumps from forming.