Spoon-tender beef barley soup — like your grandma used to make. 🙂 Click here to Pin this recipe
This was my favorite soup growing up. My Nana (my mom’s mom) used to make a rendition of this soup when we would visit her for Sunday dinner. This soup was (at my request) always the appetizer. Years later, my mom made a slightly modified version for us. The version below is my own modifications of my mom’s version — I added the mushrooms and shredded potatoes.
I think the part of this soup I love the most is the barley. It has such a great texture that’s so different than the usual noodle textures found in most soups. It can be bit hard to find — be sure to check the bulk section of your grocery store. People have been eating barley for over 10,000 years; lets keep that tradition going 🙂
And the beef is so tender! I was able to find a chuck roast (on sale, even!) already cut into chunks for this recipe. I wanted to the make the chunks a bit more bite-size, so once they were cooked and tender, I pulled the big chunks out of the soup and shredded them by hand. You also might be able to shred them in the pot using a fork — if you try that method let me know how it goes!
Although I live too far from my mom to continue the Sunday dinner tradition, I continue making this soup for my family. The version of the recipe below has been distilled through three generations — enjoy!
Beef Barley Soup
- 1.5-2 lb beef chuck roast cut into chunks or stew beef
- salt & pepper
- 4 tablespoons oil divided
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 cup diced onion
- 2 cups diced carrots ~1 lb
- 2 cups diced mushrooms 8-10 oz by weight
- 10 cups beef broth*
- 2 large potatoes diced or shredded (~1/2 lb)
- 1 cup barley
- Salt and pepper beef on all sides
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil on med-high heat in soup pot or dutch oven.
- Sear meat on all sides. Remove from pot and set aside.
- Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to pot.
- Add celery, onion, carrots, mushrooms and cook until golden brown and soft, stirring occasionally, about 10-15 minutes.
- Add meat and broth to pot, bring to boil, and simmer on low covered, until beef is fork tender, about 2 hours.
- Shred beef into bite-size pieces. I prefer to remove the beef and shred it on a plate. Return beef to pot.
- Add potatoes to pot and continue simmering, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.
- Add barley to pot and simmer, covered, until barley is cooked, about 45 minutes.
- Enjoy 🙂
*I used 10 cups water and 4 tablespoons Better then Bullion Beef Base