We’be been on a bit of a soup kick here at Chez Emilie as of late because we have both been suffering from a variety of colds, stomach bugs, and just the chill of late fall. Last week alone I made 3 different batches of soup, including my version of beef and barley soup, which was a big hit.
When I first told Tom about the way I make the soup, he seemed a bit skeptical about the final result. Unlike many of the most common beef and barley soup recipes, my soup includes tomatoes and green beans; making it more like a beef vegetable soup with barley. It’s an especially great recipe for those getting over a cold or the flu because the tomatoes give an extra shot of vitamin C and magnesium to someone on the mend.
I prefer to use pearl barley in my soup, but that has been impossible to find recently, leaving me with instant barley as my only option. I use instant barley in this recipe, but I definitely encourage you to use pearl if you can find it. If you do use pearl barley, add it to the dish much earlier, as it takes about a full hour to cook, as opposed to the 15 minutes the instant barley takes. Regardless of whether you use instant or pearl barley, this is definitely a soup you should eat sooner rather than later, as the barley will continue to soak up the broth, even after you have refrigerated the leftovers. If that happens, you may need to add a bit more beef broth or water to the soup when you reheat it.
Beef and Barley Soup
2 tblsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
3 medium carrots
2 ribs celery
¼ lb fresh green beans
1lb chuck shoulder roast
1 tsp Hungarian smoked paprika
½ teaspoon dried thyme
2 medium dried bay leaves
6 cups beef broth
⅛ red wine vinegar
1 can (approx. 14 ounces) crushed tomatoes
salt & pepper
1 cup hot water
1 cup instant barley
1) Begin by prepping your ingredients. Dice the onion and garlic. Cut the carrots and celery in to similarly sized pieces, about a ¼ to ½ inch in size. Cut the green beans into ½ inch lengths as well. Finally, cut the meat into ½ inch cubes. Set this all aside.
2) Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven. When the begins to shimmer add onion and garlic and cook 4 minutes until soft. Then add the carrots and celery and cook for another 8 minutes.
3) Add the beef to the pot and sauté for 5 minutes. Stir in Hungarian paprika, thyme, pepper, and salt.
4) At this point there should be some browned bits forming on the bottom of the pot. Add about half a cup of broth to deglaze the pan and use a spoon to scrape these bits off the bottom of the pot.
5) Add the rest of the broth and the can of crushed tomatoes to the pot. Drop in the bay leaves. Add the cut green beans. Bring soup to a boil.
6) Once boiling, reduce heat and loosely cover the pot. I put the lid on a bit of an angle so some of the steam can escape. Simmer for at least 1 hour, although I usually let it cook for 2 hours.
7) About 20 minutes before serving, add hot water to pot and return soup to a boil. Add instant barley and simmer until cooked and soft.
8) Serve hot with warm crusty bread and butter.