Make this soup the night before to allow time for its flavors to develop. Pour hot servings into a thermos to take for lunch, or reheat individual portions in the microwave as needed. Serve the soup with crusty bread, crackers, or Spicy Whole-Wheat Pita Chips.
2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large)
1 pound chuck steak, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups chopped peeled carrot (about 4)
1 cup chopped celery (about 4 stalks)
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup uncooked pearl barley
5 cups fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
2 cups water
1/2 cup no-salt-added tomato puree
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
How to Make It
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chopped onion and beef to pan; cook 10 minutes or until onion is tender and beef is browned, stirring occasionally. Add chopped carrot and chopped celery to pan; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in garlic; cook 30 seconds. Stir in barley and remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes or until the barley is done and vegetables are tender. Discard bay leaves.
I'm surprised by the ratings on this recipe, but maybe I just don't appreciate the simplicity of beef and barley soup. I thought this recipe had no flavor, and had to punch it up with salt and pepper to even eat it. The three people I served it to agreed. Maybe I should have added thyme like the other reviews suggested, but I'm not sure if that would have been enough. We ate the whole batch over the week, but it just wasn't great and I won't make again.
The recipe turned out delicious, except I added a few extras. I browned the chunks of meat to get a good sear, then mixed the onions with the meat. Then I added probably 1 tsp of thyme, 1/2 - 1 tsp of cayenne, and a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce to bring out some of the umami. Yum!
This is my go to recipe - I make it at least 3 times a month to pack for lunches and it's a guaranteed meal my foodie 2 year old will gobble down! I find it easy to pull together and delicious - though I do add dried oregano, thyme and basil to the soup and lots of extra black pepper, but this soup is great as written :-)
I gave this five stars because of the ease of this recipe and for the flavorful results. My previous go-to recipe took all day and required an entire chuck roast. I would definitely choose this recipe any day! The only change I made was to cook the onions down longer before adding the beef along with some extra fresh cracked pepper. Delicious and easy!
I was excited to try this because I have memories of my mom making this when I was a child. But, I was disappointed, it was very bland and boring. Needs something to give it some spice. Was better the second day, when the barley really got a chance to absorb some of the liquid and puff up.
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