Beef & Barley Soup

Beef & Barley Soup is a classic and hearty dish that is perfect for warming up on a chilly day. This soup combines tender beef, wholesome barley, and a medley of vegetables in a rich and savory broth. It’s a complete meal in a bowl that is both nourishing and satisfying, making it an ideal choice for a family dinner or a comforting lunch.


  • 1 pound beef stew meat, cut into small cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 large carrots, sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 8 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach or kale (optional)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)


1. Brown the Beef:
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef stew meat and brown on all sides, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the beef from the pot and set aside.

2. Sauté the Vegetables:
In the same pot, add the chopped onion and sauté until it becomes translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant.

3. Add the Carrots and Celery:
Stir in the sliced carrots and celery, cooking for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add Broth and Seasonings:
Return the browned beef to the pot. Pour in the beef broth and add the diced tomatoes (with their juices), pearl barley, bay leaves, dried thyme, and dried oregano. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Simmer the Soup:
Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and let the soup cook for about 45-60 minutes, or until the barley and beef are tender. Stir occasionally to prevent the barley from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

6. Add Greens (Optional):
If using fresh spinach or kale, stir it into the soup during the last 5-10 minutes of cooking, allowing it to wilt.

7. Serve:
Ladle the hot soup into bowls and garnish with fresh chopped parsley. Serve with crusty bread for a complete meal.

Tips for Success

  • Meat Selection: Use a cut of beef that is suitable for slow cooking, such as chuck roast or stew meat, to ensure tenderness.
  • Barley Cooking: Rinse the barley before adding it to the soup to remove excess starch and ensure it cooks evenly.
  • Flavor Enhancement: For a richer flavor, deglaze the pot with a splash of red wine after browning the beef and before adding the broth.
  • Storage: This soup stores well in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and can be frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave.


  • Vegetable Variations: Add other vegetables like potatoes, peas, or mushrooms for more variety.
  • Spicy Twist: Add a pinch of red pepper flakes or a diced jalapeño for a spicy kick.
  • Herb Substitutions: Use fresh herbs instead of dried if available. Fresh thyme and oregano can enhance the flavor.


Beef & Barley Soup is a comforting and hearty dish that brings warmth and nourishment to your table. With its tender beef, wholesome barley, and rich vegetable broth, this soup is perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re looking for a cozy meal on a cold day or a satisfying dinner for the family, this classic soup is sure to please. Enjoy the robust flavors and hearty textures of this timeless favorite, and savor each delicious bite!

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