Vegetable Beef Barley Soup Recipe – Tasting Table

This vegetable beef barley soup can really do it all. It can be an entire meal in and of itself, making a hearty lunch or dinner without anything else served — though it’s definitely best served “with a good crusty bread,” says chef and recipe developer Susan Olayinka of The Flexible Fridge. It can be a starter or a side, or it can even be ladled over rice or noodles to make a meal that much more robust. And, it can be made in large batches and stored in the fridge for three or four days, or frozen for up to three months, so you can make the soup now and know your meals are covered for those times when time is tight.
What’s more, is that aside from the beef itself, everything that goes into it has a long, stable fridge or shelf life (even the fresh herbs, if stored properly) so you can keep most of the ingredients on hand at all times for whenever you want a great soup. Indeed, this vegetable beef barley soup really does cover every base, and that’s why we know you’ll love this recipe — let’s dive right in!

This soup calls for a lot of common ingredients brought together in a wonderful way. You’ll need a carrot, an onion, a stalk of celery, garlic cloves, sprigs of fresh rosemary and fresh thyme, oil, a bit less than a pound of diced casserole beef (AKA chuck steak), a cup of pearl barley, lots of beef broth, and of course some salt. Also, note that if you want to make a vegan version of this soup, you can use a veggie broth and chunks of seitan.

Begin the recipe by dicing the carrot, the onion, and the celery, chopping the vegetables into roughly ½-inch cubes — make sure they are bite sized, as this soup does not get blended. Next, peel and slice the garlic cloves thinly. Then pick the leaves off the rosemary and thyme sprigs, discard of the stems, and then mince the leaves finely. You can even use kitchen shears to chop them if preferred.

Get a decently large pot onto the stove and into it place the oil, the chopped onion, and the chopped garlic, let these cook for two minutes over a medium-high heat. After the two minutes, place the diced beef into the pot and let that cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Next, after those five minutes, add the diced carrot and celery, mix everything together, and then add the pearl barley.

Right after you add the pearl barley to the pot, pour in the beef broth and then sprinkle in the chopped rosemary, chopped thyme, and the salt. Mix everything together, then let the soup cook on low-medium heat for 25 minutes. At about 12 minutes, stir through everything a few times. The one mistake to watch for with this recipe? Olayinka says: “Just don’t burn the soup. It’s very easily done, [which is why] I tell readers to stir half way — this will prevent any sticking to the bottom of the pot.” After the cooking time is up, take the pot off the heat and serve your hearty soup. You can enjoy this alone, with some bread, or over rice — the possibilities are endless.