Beef barley soup

29 Jan

Beef barley soup

Pearl barley is the very definition of comfort food for me. It takes me straight back to childhood – to lunches of homemade soup and grilled cheese sandwiches round the kitchen table to fortify us against whatever winter weather northern Canada was serving up outside.

I read somewhere once that “Canadians eat for ballast”, to ensure they aren’t swept away by an Arctic blast when they venture out of doors. There may be some truth in that…;-)

Whatever the reason, beef barley soup is the kind of thing I crave now that winter is making a belated appearance in the UK.

Beef barley soup
(serves 4)

  • 500g stewing beef, cut into bite-size pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Tb sunflower oil
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.25 litres water (or beef stock)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  1. Pat the meat dry with paper towel, then season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy soup pot over medium-high heat, and brown the pieces of meat all over. (Do this in batches if necessary.)
  3. Add the carrots, onion and celery, sauté for a few minutes, then add the garlic.
  4. Add the water or stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, add the bay leaves, cover and cook for about one and a half hours, or until the beef is tender.
  5. Rinse the barley well, then add to the pot. Simmer for another 30 minutes,  half covered, until the barley is tender. Adjust the seasoning and serve.

7 Responses to “Beef barley soup”

  1. eat2healthblog January 29, 2016 at 10:34 am #

    Delicious pearl barley soup! We think that it’s about time we whipped up another batch too; it really is a great comfort food. Haha, ‘Canadians eat for ballast’! I’ve never heard of that phrase, but it sounds spot on. I remember ploughing through strong wind and snow as a kid in Eastern Canada, so I can only imagine how the winter weather took its toll on our Northern friends! Thanks for sharing Andrea. 🙂

    • Andrea January 29, 2016 at 2:30 pm #

      You’re very welcome! The ballast thing made me laugh, but there’s logic in it too. I imagine winters in Ontario were comparable to Northern BC.

      • eat2healthblog January 30, 2016 at 9:49 am #

        Agreed, especially when you’re a kiddy-wink! Haha, go a bit further into the Maritimes and that’s me! 🙂

  2. Gloria January 29, 2016 at 11:32 am #

    Wow! what a comforting soup?

    • Andrea January 29, 2016 at 2:28 pm #

      Thanks Gloria!

  3. pinkiebag January 29, 2016 at 9:30 pm #

    I’ve only recently discovered pearl barley in soup. In a slow beef stew it would make the perfect filling comfort food for the colder months. Thanks for sharing, Chloe.

    • Andrea January 31, 2016 at 3:39 pm #

      Pearl barley is perfect for the slow cooker!

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