Beef and Barley Soup
Beef and barley soup/stew is one of my favorite winter meals and goes perfectly with some warm buttermilk biscuits. I feel like this winter I haven’t made as many of what you might consider typically winter dishes. Those hearty soups and stews or big roasts that heat up the whole house while it’s cold outside. Much of this I’m sure is due to the fact that it never really got that cold this winter.
What is the difference between a soup and a stew? Sometimes it just comes down to how patient you are. Stews have much less liquid and while I intended for this to be a stew, it smelled too good and we were too hungry to wait for any more of the liquid to cook off. Even if it is going to be in the 50s and 60s all this week as I write this there is still snow on the ground, so I say it’s ok to share the recipe. If it has already warmed up where you are you can just file it away for the winter time.
This is a great dish to load up with whatever veggies you like. I added mushrooms, celery, and carrots but potatoes, onions, turnips, parsnips, or even some diced tomatoes would be great too. Depending on how much soup liquid you prefer you can also cook the barley directly in the broth or prepare it separately and then add it later.
Even if we haven’t had a very cold or snowy winter, I’m still looking forward to spring! Usually Michigan delivers a late March blast of cold but for now I have hopefully put my boots away until next fall.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2½ pounds beef chuck/stewing beef, cut into 1" pieces
- 1 pound white mushrooms, quartered
- 5 stalks celery, cut into ½" pieces
- 5 large carrots, quartered and cut into ½" pieces
- 4 cups beef broth
- 3 cups water
- 1½ cups barley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pot (cast iron works well) melt the butter over medium-high heat. Sear the beef to brown it. Do this in batches so that the pot does not get too crowded. Set the browned pieces aside in a bowl as you cook the rest.
- Add the mushrooms to the pot and increase the heat to high. Cook for 3-4 minutes, the mushrooms will begin to release some of their water.
- Add the browned beef, beef stock, and water. Use a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Bring the pot to a simmer then lower the heat and cover. Let simmer for about 1 hour.
- Add the barley, celery, and carrots. Cover the pot and let simmer for another hour, until the barley is tender. Serve warm.