Beef and Barley Soup

beef barley soup
I am recovering from knee surgery this week. Apparently I ran too many marathons. They say I will be back at it in about 6 weeks. I am hobbling without crutches now, but am still sore and I definitely still need some TLC, which is why you’re getting soup this week. I know chicken is the generic go-to soup for the infirm, but I like my soup like I like my men … hot and beefy.

I like to use leftover meat for soups like this, because it just seems more in keeping with the very idea of soup – stretching your pantry to its limits, forcing as much nutrition out of a few ingredients as possible.

I love making a huge roast or a few extra steaks one night, and this soup the next. Make a huge pot, then save some in the freezer for your next sick-day.

This recipe calls for pearled. or polished, barley. If you use hulled barley, you must increase the cooking time. Hulled is healthier, as it has the bran intact, but it takes up to an hour to cook. Pearled barley has the bran removed, and is done in about half the time. Less healthy, but more convenient.


2 TB. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 cups cooked shredded beef
3 tomatoes, diced
6 cups beef broth
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 cup pearled barley
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper


  1. Heat oil in a large soup pot over high heat. Brown onions until wilted and golden. Add carrots, celery and beef, and cook 10 minutes, stirring, until browned. Add tomatoes, broth, bay, oregano, and simmer 30 minutes.
  2. Add barley and simmer another 30 minutes, until tender.

**Add another grain if you like, such as brown or wild rice. Beans would be another healthful and hearty addition. Cook them first, or used canned beans.

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