Since we have already established that I clearly love soup and I have already posted two barley soup recipes (Mushroom Barley with Kale and Turkey Barley), it should come as no surprise to see yet another barley concoction!
This time I am bringing you an old family favorite – Beef and Mushroom Barley Soup. Well, sort of anyway. This is my version of my mom’s divine Beef and Mushroom Barley Soup – she wasn’t exactly excited about me posting her recipe so I conjured up a healthier version of what I could remember from hers. It is really good and perfect for a cold, dreary winter day.
While this is not a difficult soup to make, the cooking time is long so I am classifying it as a Sunday Supper. Plus you really want to have this simmering away all afternoon at home because it just makes your house smell amazing!
Pair with some warm bread or hearty crackers and a salad or bowl of hot veggies and you will be happy, full and warm in your bones.
- The Whole Foods I shop at sells “Lean Stew Beef”. Look for the leanest you can get or ask the butcher to help you and cut something down for you. Another option is to buy the regular stew beef and trim it of the fat.
- I used Trader Joe’s Dried Wild Mushroom Blend. The package is actually 0.88 and not a full ounce. No biggie!
- 1 ounce dried wild mushrooms (I used Trader Joe's Shitake, Black and Oyster Mushrooms) plus hot water to cover
- 2 stalks celery, cut into 1" pieces
- 3 carrots, cleaned, peeled and cut into ½" half-moons
- 1 large yellow onion
- 4 ounces Shitake mushrooms, stems removed, sliced into ½" pieces
- 12 ounces mushrooms (white and/or Crimini), stems trimmed, sliced into ½" pieces
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1.5 pounds lean stew meat, cut into small cubes
- 1 cup pearled barley, rinsed
- 5 to 7 whole black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme (depending on size)
- 1 tablespoon + 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 10 cups water
- Rinse dried mushrooms and cover with boiling water. I used a 2-cup measuring cup. Allow to soak while you complete the remaining prep work.
- Remove stems from Shitake mushrooms and clean caps. Slice into ½" pieces.
- Trim stems of Crimini and/or white mushrooms and clean caps. Slice into ½" pieces.
- Slice celery into 1" pieces.
- Clean carrots, peel if necessary. Slice into ½" half-moons.
- Cut off top of onion, leaving root end intact. Peel and leave whole. I usually pull the little root hairs off so they don't come off in the soup. You want the root end intact so the onion doesn't fall apart.
- Rinse and drain pearled barley.
- Combine peppercorns, bay leaf and sprigs of fresh thyme in spice bag, reusable teabag or tie with cheesecloth.
- Cut meat chunks into 1" cubes. Trim visible fat if necessary. The chunk of meat on the left of the knife is the size it came from the supermarket. The cube on the right is 1".
- Finally, drain soaking mushrooms, reserving the liquid. Coarsely chop the mushrooms.
- Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add olive oil. When hot, toss in beef cubes, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook until meat is browned, stirring occasionally.
- Add in 2 teaspoons kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, spice sachet, barley, carrots, celery, onion, mushrooms and mushroom soaking liquid. Cover with water (I used 10 cups and bring to a boil.
- Cover, lower light to a rolling simmer and cook for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- At 90 minutes remove lid, adjust salt and pepper (I added 1 tablespoon of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper).
- Cook an additional 90 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally. You may need to adjust the freshly ground black pepper if your husband is like mine and loves his beef barley soup super peppery ;).
- Remove whole onion and spice sachet, discard. Allow soup to cool for 20 to 30 minutes before serving and Enjoy! Freezes great!