Make Ahead

Old-Fashioned Beef and Barley Soup

January 19, 2013
8 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

This is comfort food for a winter's day. It's quick and easy to prepare, then it just sits on the stove and smells good for an hour or so. —plainhomecook

Test Kitchen Notes

If there was a soup-to-stew continuum, this wonderful beef and barley soup would sit at the last stop right before stews. The broth is thick and rich, with the wine adding a touch of bourguignon flavor. In fact, the taste is so rich and stew-like, I would consider adding mushrooms when I make it again (and I will make it again). Prep is straightforward and fills the kitchen with wonderful smells as everything simmers. This hearty soup is a definite go-to recipe for chilly days. —Chip Galusha

  • Serves 8
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 large carrots
  • 3 ribs of celery
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 glugs of olive oil
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 pounds beef chuck, cut into small pieces
  • 1 marrow bone
  • 8 cups beef broth or stock
  • 1 cup strong red wine
  • one 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 tablespoon double-concentrated tomato paste (the stuff that comes in tubes)
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
In This Recipe
  1. Dice the onion. Peel the carrots, cut them in half lengthwise, then slice. Cut the celery in half lengthwise and slice it. Mince the garlic.
  2. Put a couple of glugs of olive oil in the bottom of a big, heavy stock pot. Heat it over medium heat until it shimmers, then add the onions, carrots, celery, and some salt. Cook over medium heat for about five minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the garlic and thyme (crumbled between your fingers) and cook, stirring, for another minute or so, until it's nice and fragrant. Push all the veggies to the outside of the pan, then add the tomato paste and cook it for a few minutes until it's brown and sweet.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil, and simmer, uncovered, for an hour and a half.
  5. Correct the seasoning and serve with crusty bread and a green salad.
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