Beef barley

My kids aren’t all that picky about food, but it hasn’t always been that way.  One of the main reasons their tastes keep expanding is that I repeatedly expose them to foods they’ve said they didn’t like (and we repeatedly expose them to Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham).

Case in point.  Every time I’d make roasted potatoes, my son would say “I don’t want any.  I don’t like those.”  So, for about two years, I’d put one in his plate telling him “You might just decide to try these today and you might just decide you like them.”   Well, lo and behold,  about a month ago he tried one and declared “I like potatoes!!”

I’m telling you this because it reminded me that I hadn’t made this timeless classic for a long time.  The  last time I made it neither of the kids had liked it.  This time not only did they like it, but my son told me the next day “Mom, do you know what my favourite soup is?  Beef barley!!”  Boom.  Win for the Mom.

This recipe is also in my book, Culinary Art.

  • 1 1/2 lbs stewing beef
  •  salt and pepper
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 796 ml can diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ cup barley, rinsed and drained
  • 8 oz package of white mushrooms, quartered
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 to 2 cups water
  • 1 packed cup of parsley
  • Makes 6 to 8 servings This soup freezes very well.

Cut the beef into small cubes, setting aside the bone if there is one. Sprinkle the beef cubes with flour (if using), salt and pepper. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a large frying pan, add the beef, and brown over medium, stirring from time to time until the cubes are well browned on all sides.

Melt two more tablespoons of butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and sauté for 10 minutes. Add the browned meat and all the juices from the frying pan to the soup pot as well as the bone that was set aside (if there was one). Add the broth, one cup of water, bay leaves, and diced tomatoes with the juice from the can. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 1½ hours.


While the soup simmers, you can prepare the mushrooms. Melt the two remaining tablespoons of butter in a frying pan, sauté the mushrooms for about 10 minutes, and set them aside. After the soup has been simmering for 1½ hours, add the ½ cup of barley, mushrooms and minced parsley. Continue to simmer for another half an hour until the barley is cooked. You can add up to a cup of water if you find the soup is getting too thick. Correct seasoning with salt and pepper.


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