Hearty Beef Barley Soup (aka yummy goodness in a pot) (thank you milk calendar circa 1998!)

Posted by on Feb 2, 2012 in Recipes we love! | 0 comments

(Aside: today’s post on the best soup ever [seriously - it's awesome] is by Sweetie.  Thanks Sweetie!  He’s helping out this week while I battle my way through Project Laundry Room: Part Two.)  (Official-sounding status update: the laundry room is now cleared out and the walls have politely asked me for a coat of loveliness-in-a-can [aka BM Gossamer Blue paint] – I’m pretty sure me and my paintbrush have a hot date tonight.  Oh!  And only two more days till my pretty new machines arrive!!!  Am I excited?  Just a wee bit.  [Insert random happy dance here.])

SO, while I’m off working away at that, here’s Chef Sweetie’s favourite soup recipe… :)


So it’s winter, you’re feeling a little down, a little blah, and you want something that’s not too difficult to prepare, but still yummy as all get out with that stick-to-your-ribs-ness? Well, please allow me to share one of my favourite soup-as-a-meal recipes straight out of an old milk calendar!  :)

12 oz (375 g) trimmed boneless beef sirloin steak
1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced
1 onion, diced
1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried thyme
2 cups (500 mL) sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup (125 mL) pearl barley
2 1/2 cups(625 mL) beef stock
2 tbsp (30 mL) Worcestershire sauce (approx.)
3 tbsp (45 mL) all-purpose flour
3 cups (750 mL) milk
1 cup (250 mL) shredded Cheddar or Swiss cheese
Salt and pepper

Cut steak into 3/4-inch (2 cm) cubes. In large pot, melt butter over high heat; brown beef on all sides. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add garlic, carrots, onion and thyme; cook, stirring, for 3 min or until onions are softened. Add mushrooms and barley and stir to combine. Stir in beef stock and Worcestershire; bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 20 min or until barley is tender.

Increase heat to medium. Whisk flour into Milk and gradually stir into pot. Cook, uncovered, stirring often, for about 5 min or until slightly thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with cheese.


That’s it! I can usually make this in about an hour start to finish, and man oh man is it tasty. Some suggestions to consider (and things that I found helpful as someone without a wide variety of cooking experience…):

  • Pretty much any cut of beef works for this, just make the pieces all more or less the same size when you cut them up.
  • Don’t worry, that’s enough barley. You can add a little more if you want, but it’ll become more stew-like.
  • Maybe make this the day before. Letting it sit over night seems to make it taste even better. (And become more stew like… trust me, not a bad thing.)
  • A little splash of red wine works well in this. (I’m partial to a Pinot Noir.)
  • For the mushrooms, I usually use portobello mushrooms. If you know someone doesn’t like the consistency of mushroom chunks, wrap them in cheese cloth and cook with the soup, then take them out and serve on the side.


Want something equally awesome? Check these out!:

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