We were in the midst of a bitterly cold stretch and I was making a meal for a dear friend. It was the perfect day to make a comforting Beef Barley Soup from scratch.
Homemade Beef Stock
I’ve made chicken stock numerous time, but never beef. There are some decent chicken broths and stocks on the market, but the beef versions seem to fall short. I knew I’d have to start the soup recipe off with a flavorful base, so bought 4+ pounds of bone-in chuck roast to start the process.
Beef Barley Soup
Once the broth was made, strained and defatted, it was time to continue layering the flavors. A mirepoix of onions, carrots and celery was sauteed before mushrooms, then broth, shredded herbs and barley were added to the mix.
Simmered till the barley was tender and all the flavors married beautifully, I can truthfully say this was one of the most magnificent soups I’ve ever tasted. Pure comfort.
Tips for Making Homemade Beef Soup
This was a time-consuming dish to make since it is totally from scratch. But if you’re ever stuck at home during the winter due to inclement weather, it would be the perfect opportunity to make a batch of this terrific Beef Barley Soup. You’ll love it!
- Allot a good chunk of your day to make the broth and soup. Or make your broth on one day and finish the soup recipe on another!
- You can also chop all your onions, vegetables ahead of time and keep them refrigerated.
- The layering of flavors is key; the homemade broth, the aromatics and vegetables, the marbled beef and the herbs all play a key role.
- Alcohol is a flavor enhancer, so unless you have a dietary restriction, don’t skip the red wine in the broth. The alcohol will evaporate during the cooking process.
Homemade Beef Barley Soup
Fabulous beef barley soup made from scratch
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 hours
- Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Entree, Soup
For the beef stock:
- 2–3 tablespoons canola oil
- 4 pounds bone-in beef chuck, cut into 3–4 pieces
- 1 onion, cut in half
- ½ cup dry red wine
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the soup:
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 12 ounces mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- ½ cup canned tomatoes, diced
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- Shredded meat from chuck roast, obvious fat removed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup pearl barley
- Homemade beef stock
- 2 cups shredded cooked beef (from the chuck used for stock)
- Chopped fresh parsley or thyme for garnish
For the beef stock:
- Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches if needed, brown the meat and onion on all sides. Set the browned meat and onions aside.
- Add the red wine to the pot and cook, using a spoon or spatula to scrape up browned bits from the bottom of the pot, till wine reduces a bit.
- Return the meat and onions to the pot, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and cook till they sweat and release 1/2-3/4 cup juices. Add 2 quarts of water and the salt and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, and allow to simmer very gently, with the lid partially off. Simmer till meat is tender, about 2 hours.
- Strain broth and discard onions. Remove meat and set aside to cool.
- Let the stock cool, then strain again and pour into a fat separator. Let stand and pour off stock and discard fat. Alternatively, skim the fat off the top of the stock. I elected to also chill the stock overnight and remove the small amount of congealed fat remaining.
- Shred meat, removing excess fat. Reserve at least 2 cups for the soup.
- To make the soup, add oil to a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onions, carrots and celery and cook till they begin to soften. Add the mushrooms and cook till they soften and any liquid released evaporates.
- Add the tomatoes, thyme, bay leaf, beef stock, shredded beef and barley to the pot, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the barley is tender, about 45-50 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.