Beef Barley Soup

My ultimate comfort soup — this is my go to soup in fall and winter.

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  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1  1/2 pounds beef chuck steak or roast, cut into chunks,
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 whole carrots, cut into thick rounds
  • 2 stalks of celery sliced
  • 2-3 yukon gold potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1-½ teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 6 cups beef stock
  • 2 cups water or as needed (I didn’t need to add any)
  • ½ cups pearl barley
  • ½ teaspoons thyme
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 1 can (14.5 oz. size) diced fire-roasted tomatoes (Muir Glen brand)


Heat a large stock pot over medium high heat. Add the olive oil.

Brown the beef cubes until they are deeply brown — I know you think you can do this quickly, but you can’t — the color of the stock depends on a richly browned meat — remove the meat to a plate.  Add the onions and garlic to the pot. Lower the heat to medium low and cook until the onions are cooked and just start to caramelize. Stir as needed to keep onions and garlic from burning. Lower heat if necessary; drizzle a little more olive oil if needed to keep food from sticking.

Add ONE carrot, 3-4 chunks of potatoes, 2 tablespoons of celery, the beef and everything else except the tomatoes and barley to the pot and stir well. Increase the heat and bring the soup to a boil, then turn heat to low, cover pot, and simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally. Adjust heat as necessary to keep soup at a slow simmer. If the soup thickens too much, add a little more water or broth.

Taste to correct seasonings, then add tomatoes, the rest of the potatoes, the barley, carrots and celery and simmer for another hour. Remove bay leaf before serving.

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