This hearty beef barley soup recipe is the ultimate comfort meal-in-a-bowl. Thick, deep rich flavors and loaded with healthy grains, veggies and protein. So good!
Hands down, this is one of my favorite soups. I can eat it for a week straight. It’s loaded with vegetables, tender barley and beef.
Barley is an excellent source of fiber, protein and many important minerals, making this soup a healthy weeknight dinner (or lunch with the leftovers if there are any). It can, of course, be served as a soup starter in a mug, but I tend to make it a full meal in a big bowl, almost like a stew.
The soup takes about 15 minutes to pull together before it simmers on the stove for an hour. There is one surprising ingredient in this recipe – a couple of tablespoons of au jus or demi-glace gravy mix, found in a package. I use Knorr Swiss, but almost any brown gravy mix will do fine. Essentially it’s a quick way to add more depth of flavor and thicken the soup. Add slightly less if you prefer your soup with less body. Very worthwhile, even though food purists might say it’s cheating. I say why not – it works.
This is a delicious soup perfect for the cold weather. I’ve even ladled it into mason jars and given it as gifts. I serve it with hot fresh crusty bread for dipping …heaven. I have to beg my husband to save some for the next day or two.
Tailor To Your Taste
- Try other vegetables like parsnips and mushrooms. Cubed butternut squash and celeriac are also great additions.
- Add swiss chard or kale at the end instead of the baby spinach.
- If you prefer a vegetarian version – very similar without the meat – try our Vegetable Bean and Barley Soup. Also delish!
- I chop the vegetables in the food processor. This save time and effort even with processing 2-3 batches of veggies. You can of course dice the veggies by hand.
Make Ahead Beef Barley Soup Recipe
- The soup keeps well in the fridge for up to 5 days. It does thicken as the barley absorbs the broth, so just add some water or broth to thin it out to your desired consistency the next day.
Beef Barley Soup Recipe
- 1 lb - 1 1/2 pounds chuck or chuck eye beef (well marbled if possible)
- 1 tbsp oil
- 4 large carrots
- 4 celery ribs
- 1 large onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 4 cup chicken broth (about 1 litre)
- 3 cup beef broth
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 cup barley (rounded cup)
- 2 tsp Worcesterchire sauce
- 2 tbsp from Au Jus or Demi Glace gravy mix package (or brown gravy package)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 cup fresh baby spinach (optional)
- PREPARE THE VEGETABLES: Shortcut method: Peel carrots and cut into large chunks. Cut celery and onion into large chunks. Place carrots, celery and onions in food processor. Pulse a few times until vegetables are chopped into small pieces. Alternatively, dice carrots, celery and onions with a knife.
- SAUTE BEEF AND VEGETABLES: Heat oil on medium high in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper and brown it on both sides. Remove from pot and cut into bite size pieces. Add another teaspoon of oil if necessary. Add vegetables and saute for 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and saute a minute more.
- ASSEMBLE THE SOUP: Add chicken and beef broth, water, thyme, barley, Worcesterchire and 2 tablespoons from the gravy base package. Stir, cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer the soup for an hour.
- FINISH THE SOUP: Add baby spinach (if using) and stir until wilted, about 1 minute. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt and pepper if needed or a bit more soup base from the package to achieve the thickness and depth of flavor desired. Serve immediately with lots of bread for dipping.
I’ve been making versions of this recipe for years by eye. To get the proportions down pat, I loosely adapted my recipe from Best Beef Barley Soup.
Here are some other hearty meal in a bowl soups you might like: