Beef Barley Soup

Cooking with Rocco
by Cooking with Rocco
4 Servings
2 hr 15 min

Nothing beats all this cold weather more than a big hearty bowl of beef barley soup. I added my own little twist to this classic by caramelizing the onions, swapping the celery for fennel, and adding some parsnips for a little sweetness and nuttiness.

This is the perfect dish for a cold, lazy Sunday, or pretty much any day of the week if you’re working from home. Especially when you look out the window and all you see is rain/snow. Don’t let the 2 hour cook time intimidate you. You’re building flavor each step of the way, which will result in an absolute flavor bomb in your mouth!

Recipe details
  • 4  Servings
  • Prep time: 15 Minutes Cook time: 2 Hours Total time: 2 hr 15 min
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  • 1 pound angus beef sirloin tips, cubed into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoons of olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 medium parsnips, diced
  • 1 fennel bulb, diced
  • 1 bay leave
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 8 cups beef stock (can sub for chicken stock)
  • 3/4 cup barley, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large pot over medium-high heat, and drizzle with a little olive oil. Add the cubed beef into the pot and cook until the beef is browned on all sides (about 10 minutes). Once cooked, remove the beef and set it aside. Depending on the size of your pot, you may want to cook the beef in batches so they don't steam.
If needed, add a little more olive oil to the pot and then add the onion. Turn the heat down to low, and caramelize the onions for about 30 minutes, or until they take on a nice dark caramel color. Make sure to stir occasionally. If the onions look like they're browning to quickly and not caramelizing, lower the heat or add a tablespoon of water. If the onions are starting to stick, add a little more oil or even a knob of butter.
Once the onions are caramelized, add the garlic and cook until fragrant (about 1 to 2 minutes). Then add back the beef along with the carrots, parsnips, fennel, bay leave, red pepper flakes and stock (if you're using dried herbs, now is the time to add them, save the fresh herbs for the end). Turn the heat to medium-low, and cook until the vegetables and beef are tender (about 45 to 60 minutes).
Add the barley, stir until its fully combined into the soup, and then cook for about 30 minutes over a medium-low flame, or until it's fully cooked.
Once the barley is cooked, finish the soup with the fresh herbs, salt, and pepper. Then serve with a garnish of chopped parsley.
Cooking with Rocco
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