Go Back Email Link

almost (better than) scratch beef-barley soup

Adding a beef bone, vegetables, diced beef chuck, and fresh herbs to purchased beef broth helps create a cheater’s stock has this typically long-cooking soup done in less than half the time. You’ll cook a few of the vegetables with the bone and the beef for an hour or so to create the stock, remove and discard the vegetables (or chop them up and throw them in), and then add the remainder of the vegetables with the barley to cook another hour or so ‘til all is tender. If it’s not all eaten in one sitting (how nice to have leftovers!), you’ll need to thin the broth out by adding a little water or vegetable broth when you reheat it as the soup will have thickened as it chilled in the refrigerator. Taste and season again before serving a second or third time.
Servings: 8
Author: Alyce Morgan/More Time at the Table
Cost: $25.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil divided – or more as needed
  • 1 raw beef soup bone
  • 2-3 pounds boneless beef chuck trimmed, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 quarts low sodium beef broth or stock
  • 2 cups water – or more as needed
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 dashes hot sauce
  • 5 medium carrots trimmed, peeled, and sliced into ¼-inch coins, divided
  • 2 medium yellow onions trimmed and peeled, divided. Cut one in half to make the broth and dice the other for the soup.
  • 4 stalks of celery divided. Cut one in half for the broth and slice the other thinly
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and left whole
  • 6 sprigs fresh parsley and 3 sprigs fresh thyme tied together to make a bouquet garni
  • Bay leaf
  • 3 medium parsnips trimmed, and sliced into ¼-inch coins
  • 1 medium turnip peeled, and cut into small dice
  • 6 small new potatoes quartered
  • 1 cup pearl barley well-rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms trimmed and sliced
  • Chives minced, for garnish


  • Heat two tablespoons of the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high flame. Add the beef bone and half of the diced beef chuck. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Cook for 4-5 minutes until well-browned; turn and cook the other sides of the bone and the pieces of beef. Leaving bone in the pot, remove the diced meat to a bowl and add the rest of the meat to the pot, pouring in a little bit more oil if needed. Brown second batch on both sides and add reserved meat back into the pot. Pour in stock, water, wine, and shake in the hot sauce. Add one carrot, one onion cut in half, one stalk celery cut in half, the garlic, and the bouquet garni of fresh herbs along with the bay leaf. Bring to a boil; reduce to a healthy simmer. Taste and adjust seasonings. Cover and cook for about an hour or until beef is nearly tender.
  • Remove beef bone and the bouquet garni. Let the bone cool until you can handle it and cut meat off the bone. Skim fat off the top of the soup. Discard bone and bouquet garni and return meat to the pot. You can dice the cooked vegetables and add them back if you’d like – or discard them. Add the diced onion, sliced carrots and celery, along with the sliced parsnips, turnip, cut potatoes, and barley to the broth and meat left in the pot. Cover, bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer. Cover again and cook another hour or until everything is tender, adding more water if the soup becomes thick; it should remain quite brothy.
  • In the meanwhile, heat a medium skillet over medium flame and add the other tablespoon of olive oil, letting it warm for a minute or two. Tip in the mushrooms, season them with a sprinkle of ground black pepper, and cook until brown on one side. Turn and cook the other side. Spoon the cooked mushrooms into the soup and cook 2 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings one last time. Serve hot with a sprinkle of chives for garnish.
  • Store in the fridge well-covered for no more than 4 days. Freeze at 0 degrees F for 4-6 months.


Copyright Alyce Morgan, 2019. All rights reserved