This amazing beef and barley soup recipe is easy to make either on the stove-top or in the slow-cooker. It’s thick, hearty and absolutely delicious, and the perfect meal for a cold, winter day.
We ALL love homemade soup at our house. It’s one dinner that can always count on to satisfy all 4 members of my family. For that reason, I have several easy soup recipes that I turn to often during the winter months. My hubby works outdoors in winter, and my boys are usually outside, playing pick-up hockey on a backyard rink somewhere, so when they all come home for dinner, they’re hungry and they’re cold.
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A steaming bowl of homemade soup always goes over well. Served with my homemade bread or a batch of homemade dinner rolls, it fills the belly and warms the soul. We have several soups that we love best as a family, and this beef and barley recipe is up there at the top of our list.
I make this soup on the stovetop, but it’s also a recipe that you can make in the slow-cooker as well. Just cook and drain your beef, and throw all of the ingredients except the barley into your slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours, adding the barley in the last hour of cooking.
Ingredients for Beef and Barley Soup:
- 1.5 lbs ground beef (cooked and drained)
- 28 oz can diced tomatoes
- 2 cups water
- 3 cans beef broth (I usually just fill up my 28 oz can from the tomatoes and use the appropriate amount of bouillon)
- 1 large (or 2 smallish) onions
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 3 celery stalks
- 4 med carrots (I used baby carrots when writing this post because I was out of large ones)
- 8 tbsp pearl barley
- 1/2 tsp thyme (you can substitute with basil if you’d rather)
- (1/4 cup red wine – optional)
- salt and pepper to taste.
- 1 bay leaf (I never have one, so don’t sweat it if you don’t either)
If you haven’t already, get your ground beef browning in a pan. You’ll want to drain off the fat when it’s finished.
While your beef is cooking, chop your vegetables into bite-sized chunks.
If you’re going the slow-cooker route, toss all of your ingredients in the the crock pot, and cook on low for 8 hours.
If you’re going the stove-top route, you can do one of two things: You can toss it all into a large pot, bring just to a boil, and reduce to a simmer for a couple of hours. That will produce a mighty fine soup. Or, alternatively, you can do what I do:
Add a splash of oil to a large pot, and dump in all of the vegetables. Stir them over medium heat until they’ve softened up a bit.
Add your thyme, and give those veggies a good crank of salt and pepper.
Speaking of salt and pepper; check out my new Fiesta ware salt and pepper shakers.
Sweet or what? They were a Christmas gift this year from my Mom. She got me hooked on Fiesta dinnerware a few years back, and now every year, she gives me a little piece to add to my collection. Aren’t these just adorable? They make my heart happy.
Ok, back to the soup!
When your veggies have softened a bit, and started to stick to the bottom of the pot, deglaze with your red wine (or a bit of beef broth if you’re not using wine).
After deglazing, add your diced tomatoes to the pot. Then pour in all liquids, toss in your bay leaf, and add your beef and barley.
Let it all simmer for an hour or so.
I’ve actually never really timed it to know if it’s an hour, but you’ll know when it’s done when your barley has puffed up and your vegetables are tender.
Doesn’t that look just delicious?
You know you want it!
Looking for more easy and delicious homemade soup recipes? Check out my:
And of course, to go with a big, hearty bowl of soup, you need bread! Check out my recipe for bread machine dinner rolls. They’re absolutely divine!
Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. In 1997, Jackie stepped out of the corporate world to start a family and to open her own home daycare. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.