What is better on a cold winter’s night that a steaming bowl of soup? Along with crusty bread, a glass of red wine and a roaring fire I can’t think of a better way to end a chilly day! There is just something so intrinsically cozy and homey about soup; this time of year I make a batch at least once a week, and today I’m excited to be joining my home-loving friends Mary Ann of Classic Casual Home, Annie of Most Lovely Things, Cindy of Rough Luxe, and Celia of After Orange County to share a few of our all time favorite soup recipes with you.
For a substantial dinner that even my teenagers enjoy and find satisfying, this hearty beef and barley soup is a winner!
Barley is an excellent source of fiber and can help lower cholesterol, aid in weight loss and keep blood sugar in check, but it’s the STEAK in this recipe that my family really loves. It’s flavorful and tender even after reheating! Best of all, this recipe makes a ton so there’s enough for lunch the next day or two. Mark and I both work from home most days and get pretty fired up about leftovers!!
Good leftovers call for a quick lunch date!
This rich and hearty beef and barley soup is simple to make and definitely a crowd pleaser, plus your house will smell so good! Affiliate links are included in this post for your convenience. Read more about affiliate links here.
Hearty Beef & Barley Soup
- 1 tablespoon or so of olive oil (I just swirl in the pan and estimate)
- 2 lbs. petite sirloin steak
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 2 carrots or 1 cup baby carrots, diced
- 4 medium cloves of garlic, pressed or finely minced
- 64 oz. beef stock (or beef bone broth)
- 2 springs fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
- 8 oz. (1 cup) beef stock if reheating
- Cut the steak into 2″ chunks with the fatty rind on. Season generously with pepper and lightly with the salt (stock or broth is usually on the salty side so go sparingly on it here).
- Heat a dutch oven (see note below) or stockpot over medium-high heat and add olive oil. When the olive oil shimmers a bit, add the steak in an even layer and sear for 1-2 minutes until browned, then turn over and sear the other side for 1-2 minutes until browned. Transfer to bowl.
- Add the onion, celery and carrots to the pot and saute 4-5 minutes, scraping up browned bits, until the onion starts to become translucent, then add the minced garlic and stir. Add a bit of olive oil to the pan if the veggies are sticking to the bottom.
- While the veggies are cooking, transfer the steak to a cutting board, reserving juices, and slice into bite sized pieces (1″ or less), trimming off the fat as you go.
- Add the beef stock, thyme, bay leaf, barley, chopped steak and reserved juices to the pot and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 45 minutes or until the barley is tender.
- Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve with a really good bread to soak up all that goodness (we cannot resist the White Mountain bread at our market when it is still warm upon our shopping trip!!)
- Searing the steak creates so much flavor, and keeping the pieces rather large then chopping them after makes turning them over in the pan quicker and easier!
- I have used leftover beef tenderloin and pot roast to make this recipe. A lot of beef and barley soup recipes call for stew beef or other cuts of beef that require a lot of simmering to make the meat tender. By all means if you have this in your fridge or it’s on sale, give it a try. Depending on the cut of meet it might require a longer simmer time to tenderize the meet. However, the petite sirloin that this recipe calls for was recommended to me by my market’s butcher (Erlande!! He’s the best!) for it’s flavor and tenderness in stews and soups. It’s more expensive than stew beef but is a tastier cut of beef and makes the cooking time shorter. The steak definitely elevates this soup to a tender, flavorful level of deliciousness that will have you making it again and again!
- If you have finicky eaters, chop the vegetables very finely. After rough cutting veggies I often mince them finely with a food chopper or food processor and they are not as distinguishable in a soup. I am unashamed to say I hide vegetables in food I cook to get some wholesome goodness into the picky eaters in my house!
- The barley absorbs a lot of the liquid if it sits for a while before being served or is refrigerated. Add more beef stock as need when reheating, bringing to a boil and then turning down to a simmer before serving.
Dutch Ovens and Why You Need One
Do you have and use a dutch oven? Dutch ovens are hailed by many chefs as one of the most essential and versatile kitchen tools because you can do everything in them from braising meat to simmering stew and even baking bread. They can go from stovetop to oven and a good dutch oven will last for years. I typically use my 6 quart enameled dutch oven for soups and everyday cooking. The light colored enameled interior gives me the ability to really keep an eye on how brown veggies or meat are getting while they cook, and I often sear meat on the stovetop then throw it in the oven to roast while I finish up the rest of dinner.
The Le Creuset line of dutch ovens is probably the most well known and coveted brand, and they are excellent quality, but don’t fret if it’s not in your budget. Both Epicurious and Bon Appetit highly recommend the Lodge dutch oven that I have and love – it’s is a fraction of the cost of the Le Creuset version, has fantastic heat distribution, is extremely durable and comes in all sorts of pretty colors (I have the blue one – be careful if you order, some of the colors are more expensive than others!) Check them out Amazon if you’re a Prime member, or try Target if you like to take advantage of your Red Card 5% off like I do (Target only has red or blue though). This is definitely one of the most used items in our kitchen!
Don’t Miss These Soup Favorites Too!
I am so looking forward to reading the other soup posts today, don’t they sound amazing?
After Orange County • Bread and Cabbage Soup with Sage Butter
Classic Casual Home • Healthy Roasted Red Pepper Soup With Parmesan Crostini
Most Lovely Things • Homemade Tomato Soup – Two Ways
Rough Luxe • Mexican Street Corn Chowder
Many thanks to Mary Ann, Annie and Cindy for inviting me to join their monthly series along with Celia!
I hope these recipes warm your heart and home this winter my friends!
You can find some items from this post here.