0 hours 20 mins
1 hours 45 mins
2 hours 5 mins
1 Onion, chopped
2 Cups frozen sliced carrots, thawed
3 Celery stalks, chopped
1 Cup frozen corn, thawed
1 Cup frozen peas, thawed
2 Garlic cloves, finely minced
1 1/2 Lbs. boneless beef chuck, taco meat or stew meat cut into small pieces
2 Tsps. kosher salt plus, divided
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 Tsp. dried thyme
1 Tsp. dried rosemary
1 1/2 Tbsps. tomato paste
64 Oz. Beef broth or stock, (2 cartons if using store bought)
1 14 Oz. Can petite diced tomatoes
3/4 Cup quick cooking pearl barley
2 Dried bay leafs
Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)
Freshly Grated or shredded Parmesan Cheese to finish (optional)
1. Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a Dutch oven or large stockpot over medium-high heat and add the beef taco or stew meat in a single layer, season with salt and pepper and cook until browned on all sides. Do not crowd the meat or it will steam rather than sear and get brown. Transfer the seared meat to a plate. Continue browning the meat until is all done.
2. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in the same pot and add the onions, carrots and celery. Season with some salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and the veggies begin to soften. About 5 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, rosemary and about a teaspoon of kosher salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Stir for about one minute.
3. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste and stir into the vegetables. Cook about 1 minute. Return the beef and any accumulated juices to the pot and add the beef broth or stock, the canned tomatoes, the corn and peas and the dried bay leaves. Stir to combine and bring to a boil over high heat.
4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until the meat is tender, about one hour. Add the quick cooking barley and let cook another 15 – 20 minutes. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed. At this point, you can discard the bay leaves, they’ve done their job.
5. Serve the soup in bowls garnish with the parsley and Parmesan cheese if using. Serve with crusty bread and a salad for a complete meal. Enjoy.
NOTES: I’ve always loved beef and barley soup. It is hearty and comforting in the winter months…so much so, that I often eat it as my main meal. Over the years, I’ve upped the veggies significantly in this soup creating almost a stew…almost. I make sure there is plenty of broth so it eats like a soup. The addition of carrots, peas and corn came from my desire to make sure I was getting plenty of veggies in every day. The addition just added a ton of flavor to the soup too.
A note on the veggies. I used frozen carrot slices, peas and corn. I do defrost them so that the water doesn’t dilute the soup flavor. If you have fresh carrots, by all means, use them. The same goes for corn and peas but since those aren’t available all year, I usually use frozen.
The meat. In my grocery store, you can actually get a cut of beef called taco beef. That is simply stew meat cut even smaller which is perfect for the soup. You can buy stew meat almost everywhere and then I’d just cut those piece in halves or thirds to make them smaller so they fit in your spoon. Remember, this is soup! LOL
I take another short cut when making this soup by using quick cooking barley. It only takes 15 – 20 minutes to cook and I add it the last 20 minutes of cooking.
This is a really satisfying soup or meal (you decide). I serve it with crusty bread and topped with Parmesan but that’s just my preference (and a good one, I might add). If you like this soup, be sure to visit my soup and salad page for more delicious recipes.
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