Trouble With Toast

Recipe: Beef Barley Soup | December 4, 2009

As I mentioned previously, my family’s “traditional” Thanksgiving dinner involves a very large hunk of meat.  We roast a HUGE prime rib, and many yummy open-faced sandwiches emerge from the leftovers (of which there are always fewer than we originally anticipate).  Shockingly, we have never really done anything with the bones…until this year.

First, I made beef stock, knowing that the weather was turning colder and that I could make some sort of kick-ass soup.  I roasted the bones in the oven (450 degrees for about 30 minutes) with some carrots and onions.  I put the bones and veggies in a large stock pot and then poured the “brown bits” from the roasting pan in as well (I used a little water to scrape them up).  I added two celery stalks (with the leaves), two plum tomatoes (skin and all), about a cup of cubed skin-on Russett potatoes, eight whole black peppercorns, one bay leaf, two whole cloves of garlic (peeled), some kosher salt, and a couple of small handfuls of dried thyme.  Then I covered all of that mess with 12 cups of water and brought the whole thing to a boil.  After bringing down the heat, I let it simmer for about three hours (you could certainly go longer) and then strained it.

The next day, I decided to put together a beef barley soup with the homemade stock.  I puttered around the interwebs for a while, searching for the perfect recipe to serve as a guide, but I ended up pulling bits and pieces from a bunch of different recipes.  I tell you what, the homemade beef stock made all the difference–the flavor was so much deeper than it would have been with store-bought, especially since the bones were roasted first.  The end product was quite thick, which I really liked, but I think some folks at the table would have preferred a bit more broth.  All in all, served with some crusty bread, this was an incredibly tasty and satisfying cold-weather meal.  Hope everyone has a warm and toasty weekend–I may be making this soup again, as it is supposed to SNOW here in Atlanta!  Brrrrr…

  • 1 lb beef, cut into very small cubes/pieces (I used about a half pound of fresh chuck, and the rest was delicious tender meat still left on the bones of the prime rib)
  • a couple of handfuls of baby carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • olive oil
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 ½ cups pearl barley (make sure to buy the “regular” stuff and not anything with the word “quick” on the box)
  • 8 cups homemade beef stock
  • salt and pepper to taste

Warm the olive oil in the soup pot over medium high heat.  Add beef and brown well.  Add carrots, onion, and celery, turn heat down to medium low, and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes, barley, bay leaves, beef stock, and salt and pepper.  Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered about one hour, or until barley is soft and beef is tender.  If the soup thickens too much for your liking, you can thin it out with water or more beef stock.


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  1. This makes me think of my mom. She loves beef barley soup. I may just do prime rib for Thanksgiving, now…so she can have this too.

    Comment by lemmonex — December 4, 2009 @ 2:53 pm

  2. Beef barley soup is only one of the MANY benefits of having yummy prime rib for Thanksgiving dinner. 🙂

    Comment by bettyjoan — December 4, 2009 @ 3:04 pm

  3. Yum.

    Comment by Barzelay — December 4, 2009 @ 7:28 pm

  4. where do you find barley in the store? i was going to make a barley soup in the slow cooker and couldnt find it anywhere. yours looks good.

    Comment by lesliecooks — December 8, 2009 @ 6:51 am

  5. Barzelay: It WAS yum!

    Leslie: Welcome! I usually look for barley in the rice/pasta aisle, but some stores keep it near the beans, and some even sell it in the “natural foods” area. Best to just ask someone at the store!

    Comment by bettyjoan — December 8, 2009 @ 1:07 pm

  6. […] made bread for the first time in November, and in December, after a really cool interview, comfort food was the name of the […]

    Pingback by 2009 – Full Throttle, Full Circle « Trouble With Toast — December 29, 2009 @ 1:29 pm

  7. My husband has been enjoying reading your blog and tonight he made your beef barley soup. He used a good canned stock, so obviously it wasn’t what it absolutely could be, but still, great recipe, delicious soup. It was nice to be reminded of how good barley is. Thanks so much, here’s to your blog in the new year.

    Comment by Madam — December 30, 2009 @ 12:25 am

    • Madam, welcome, and thanks so much for the comment! Happy new year to you and your husband as well.

      Comment by bettyjoan — January 5, 2010 @ 4:08 pm

  8. Making this tonight, also baked some bread … hoping for the best.

    Thanks for blogging this lovely recipe. smells Yummy!

    Twila Jean

    Comment by Twila Jean — January 13, 2010 @ 12:11 am

    • It does smell yummy, especially on a cold winter night! Hope it turned out well, and thanks for reading!

      Comment by bettyjoan — January 13, 2010 @ 4:30 pm

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