Beef Vegetable Barley Soup
Beef Vegetable Barley soup is one of my favorite soups. I like to make it on a Friday morning, store it in the fridge, and serve it as a hearty, easy dinner at the end of a busy week. This soup stores well in the fridge for three or four days, long enough to keep you well fed over a weekend or during a long week. If you don’t have stew beef on hand you could use a chuck steak. Chuck usually isn’t as lean as stew meat so the flavor from the fat will be a little richer.
We recently had company to dinner and learned ahead of time that one of our guests truly disliked barley. I left it out of the soup and cooked it separately, in beef broth, and then added a third-cup to each bowl as I was serving. It pays to ask ahead of time about food allergies and dislikes!I like a slice of hearty bread to go with the soup. A whole grain whole wheat or a seeded rye is great. You can add a little butter to the bread or use it to sop up the broth. Or both.
Vegetable substitutions and/or are easy.
- carrots – parsnips
- onions – leeks
- celery – bok choi
- kale – tatsoi, spinach, beet greens
- barley – potatoes
If the meat is a bit tough, replace two cups of stock with two cups of tomato juice. The acidity of the juice will help tenderize the meat.
If you used a fattier cut of meat you’ll want to skim the fat from the top of the soup as it accumulates. Fat adds flavor to the broth but in its liquefied state it really isn’t tasty. Beef Vegetable Barley Soup is also great with venison and is meant to be a low-fat soup.
Tailgating & Back Woods Road Riding
We like to take a Thermos of Beef, Vegetable & Barley Soup with us when we’re out for the day. We usually aren’t in a place where we can stop at a diner for lunch so a hot soup and a couple of sandwiches keep us fed, warm and satisfied. The travel bin in the truck always has mugs, bowls, silverware, napkins and other things we might need when we’re out and about.
Beef, Vegetable & Barley Soup - On The Fire
- 2 pounds stew meat beef, deer, elk, bear, etc.
- 2 cups carrots sliced
- 1 cup yellow onion chopped
- 1 cup kale chopped
- 1 cup celery chopped
- 2 tablespoons garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 4 medium bay leaf
- 2 quarts beef stock
- 1 cup pearled barley
- 1 pint stewed tomatoes
- to taste salt optional
- to taste pepper optional
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- splash red wine optional
- Cut the stew meat and vegetables into bite-size pieces.
- Add the olive oil, meat, carrots, onions, kale and celery to a large soup pot. Cook over medium heat for ten minutes. The meat will brown, onions might start to caramelize, and the kale will wilt. The celery will soften but you probably won't notice a difference in the carrots.
- While the meat and vegetables are browning, heat the beef stock to simmering.
- If you'd like to deglaze the pan before adding the stock, do it now with a splash of red wine.
- Add the beef stock, stewed tomatoes, pearled barley, bay leaves, garlic and thyme. Simmer for 60 minutes, until the barley is done.
- Depending on how salty the beef stock is, you should add salt and also the pepper to taste before serving.