Beef, Barley & Mushroom Soup

So Spring arrived yesterday, as did a heap of snow. Ugh. As much as I love snow before Christmas, it’s sight repulses me this time of year. Needless to say it’s appearance did not inspire me to make salad for dinner… back to soups we go.

This is a really easy recipe and you only need about 2 hours start to finish to make it. If you happen to have homemade beef stock on hand, please use it, but I used a combo of half beef and half sodium-free chicken broths, a tip I remember hearing back on America’s Test Kitchen (I think?).

My Beef, Barley & Mushroom Soup

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 3/4 lb stewing beef, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tsp herbes de Provence
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 3 cups sodium free chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 medium potato, diced
  • 8oz sliced mushrooms (button or cremini)
  • 3/4 cup pot barley

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and sauté the shallots, garlic and celery… no need to brown them. Add in the beef cubes, pepper, herbs de Provence and once the beef is browned, add in the tomato paste, stir and allow it to cook for a minute or so. Add the bay leaf, water and broths, bring to a simmer, cover it and let it cook for an hour or so. Then add in the carrots, potato, mushrooms and barley. Stir, cover and let simmer for another hour. Check for seasoning, add some salt and more pepper if desired and serve up a bowl with some crusty bread (more on the crusty bread in the photos later this week).

It feels so great to be back in the kitchen cooking.  This has been the Winter from Hell in the Mmm… household.  Except for a couple days of reprieve at Disney, this week is the first time in 2013 that all of us are healthy at the same time.  To quote Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that”.


About Heather Nolan

Heather Nolan lives just outside of Halifax, Nova Scotia. She loves her lil' family, her cats, traveling, and creating in the kitchen. Her phone is often confused for a conjoined twin.


  1. Looks so good….perfect for all our spring snow days.

  2. Heather, I want to jump in the screen and eat this!!! It just looks so cozy, im going to try this weekend ;)

  3. Anonymous says:

    This receipe was tried by us this lunchtime. It was delicious. Hope to make it myself soon.Mom

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’m going to try this. Sounds so good. Leota

  5. everything tastes better with beef

  6. I love soup, and it is still so cold in NYC. This looks like the perfect meal for this weekend!

  7. There is something special about a homemade soup – it;s just perfection on a cold day! Thanks for sharing

  8. Victoria Ess says:

    A perfect recipe for a rainy day like today!

  9. What is pot barley?

    • Pot (Scotch) barley is husked and coarsely ground. It is polished like pearl barley, but to a lesser extent, so the kernels are less refined, retaining more of the bran layer than pearled. The kernels are not as small as pearl barley, so pot barley takes a little longer to cook. Pearl would also work.


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