Beef and Barley Soup

Beef and Barley Soup from Karista's Kitchen

Winter has definitely arrived.  When I look out my window I see a blanket of white gracing the landscape.

When I look over at my sofa, with my lovely new throw blanket (the one my sister gave me for Christmas), I see a scruffy Cairn Terrier with a summer haircut snuggling in that new blanket.  It seems even Tank loves a soft, snuggly throw blanket.

Tank. Snuggled in for the day.

The only time Tank leaves the sofa... when someone might be in the kitchen.

Winter is a time of renewal.  A time to reflect, a time to rejuvenate, a time to recover.  A very wise lady once told me, everyone needs a season of winter.   I agree.

The season of winter

Although my schedule is busy with my lovely clients, teaching culinary classes and my super delicious family, The Bennett Crew, I still manage to squeak out a little time just for me.

Sometimes it’s 10 minutes to read a few chapters of my new mystery novel (it would be 30 minutes if I didn’t fall asleep), and sometimes it’s 15 minutes in a hot bubble bath with a little glass of wine.  And sometimes it’s just a few minutes sitting on Suzie Q’s bed listening to all the tales in the life of a 13-year-old girl, which can be quite entertaining. 🙂

I really wish I had an hour to read (I’m certain I’d still fall asleep) or an hour to soak in a hot tub, or two hours to listen to my little gals tales.  But I cherish the few moments I do have.  They eventually add up to many hours spent just for me.

I wish you all many peaceful moments in your season of winter.

Loads of Love,


Beef and Barley Soup

Cook Time: Slow cooked for about 2 hours in a Dutch oven or soup pot or can be slow cooked  in a slow cooker for about 5-6 hours

Serves 4-6


1 lb beef stew meat, cubed

1 tablespoon safflower, sunflower or grapessed oil

1 onion, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 ribs celery, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

5-6 cups organic beef broth, start with 5 cups and add more at the end if needed. (Imagine or Pacific brands are delicious as is Wolfgang Puck’s broths)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 bay leaf

1/3 cup pearled barley (found in the rice aisle of your local market or found in bulk at Whole Foods and PCC Natural Markets)

1 cup frozen organic peas

1 tablespoon red or white wine vinegar (I’ve also used rice wine vinegar when I forgot to purchase red and white vinegar)

Fresh chopped Italian parsley for garnish (optional)


In a Dutch oven or Soup Pot heat the oil over medium high heat.  Season the beef cubes with salt and pepper.

Brown the beef and then transfer to a bowl.  Then add the diced onion, carrots and celery.  Let the veggies cook for about 5-8 minutes, or until they are wilted.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Then stir in the beef broth, bay leaf and tomato paste.  Add the beef back into the pot.  Bring the soup to a boil and then cover the pot with a lid and let the soup simmer on low for about an hour.

After one hour, stir in the pearled barley, cover the pot again and let it simmer for another 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes, check to see if the barley has puffed up and softened.  And then check to see if your stew meat is tender.  If it’s not tender let it simmer for another 30 minutes.  If all is tender, add the frozen peas and season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.

Then stir in the tablespoon of vinegar to pull all those delicious flavors together.  Garnish with chopped fresh Italian parsley if desired.

This is a fabulous soup to serve immediately, or hold over for a day or two.  It’s also a good freezer soup.  When reheating you might need to add an additional 1/4 to 1/2 cup water, as the pearled barley will absorb a lot of the liquid.

You can also prepare this soup in a slow cooker.  Brown the beef and saute the veggies as instructed above. Then transfer to the slow cooker.  Pour the broth over the beef and veggies, stir in the tomato paste and add the bay leaf.  Cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 5-6 hours.

Stir in the pearled barley at least one hour before the soup is done.   Twice I’ve forgotten to add the pearled barley and ended up cooking it stove top according to package directions. Then I added the cooked barley to the soup.  This is always an option if you’re forgetful like me. 🙂

Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add the tablespoon of vinegar and frozen peas and let the soup sit for 5 minutes before serving.



  1. I love this recipe – sadly I will have to dream about it as we don´t get much beef in Andalucia and have never seen barley here (will have to put it on my shopping list for next time I go to London). Tank is gorgeous and who can blame him for staying where he is with al the (beautiful) snow outside!

  2. I’ve never found a Beef Barley Soup that really turned by crank – once I perfected Beef Bourginion, I kinda stopped trying to find one. You’ve peaked my tastebuds though 🙂

  3. Can’t blame a dog for wanting to enjoy the warming comforts of a good blanket. You’re soup sounds like such a wonderful soul satisfying meal to enjoy while there is snow outside. Unfortunately I only have rain right now. 😦


  4. Oh my, Tank is such a sweetie!! I love terriers, I have a yorkshire terrier that I swear can read my mind. I am blown away everyday by how smart terriers are! This soup sounds great on a night like tonight. 🙂 It is supposed to dip down to -5 F…this soup would warm me right up!

    • We are definitely a terrier family Christina! We had an Airedale, Elwood, for 12 years. He passed this last August. We were devastated. He was such a love. But we have Tank, and he keeps us all entertained. They are a smart breed I agree! Clever too 🙂

  5. What a perfect winter meal! If I can get out of my house tomorrow, this is what we are having for dinner. And Tank is the most adorable little thing…

    • Thanks Heidi! He’s super adorable until he takes off down the street in a snow storm and I have to chase him. He did finally decide to come back home. Guess he was cold. 🙂

  6. 🙂 Sweet little Tank just ran down the street… in eight inches of snow! He realized how cold it was and he didn’t have on his sweater so he came back rather quickly. I love this simple soup. It’s hearty but still comforting like a soup. And I’m relishing this quiet day too!

  7. Oh sweet little Tank..what a doll. Any soup for him?? I think I need to add this one to my recipe box. Looks so delicious and what gorgeous photos! I’m experiencing some cabin fever so reading what you wrote about savoring, rejuvenating, is just what a needed to hear!


  1. […] Beef and Barley Soup from Karista @ Karista’s Kitchen. This was my first attempt at making Beef and Barley […]

  2. […] beautiful colors remind me of harvest and make me crave Beef Barley soup, squash and hearty leafy greens and sometimes grilled cheese and apple butter on dark rye. […]

  3. […] how about this tempting beef and barley soup from Karista’s Kitchen? In her blog Karista says: “Winter is a time of renewal. A time to reflect, a time to […]

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