Braised Beef Tomato Barley Soup. A hearty and healthy comfort food soup that starts like a stew to maximize the delicious natural flavour of the beef and the veggies.
Spouse is a big soup lover and has quite a number of terrific recipes in her repertoire.
Beef and Barley is one of her favorites and this is an new version that starts out in the oven to tenderize the beef by slowly braising it with canned tomatoes.
Practically any cut of beef will do for this recipe because this tenderizing technique. I like to use chuck roast (also known as blade roast) because it is one of the most flavourful cuts of beef there is.
I also like it because it is easy to trim visible fat pockets before cooking, making it just a little healthier. That’s the reason I recommend using low sodium or sodium free stock too. When you control the seasoning, you can more closely monitor the salt usage.
Flavour is the reason I use chuck/blade roast to grind for hamburgers too. It really does make a big flavour difference.
Now that I think of it, grinding the beef and browning it like you would for chili would make an awesome shortcut version of this recipe. I must remind myself to try that next time.
Browning the meat for any soup or stew recipe is the best place to start building flavour. Soups and stews where the meat is just boiled in the broth never did appeal to me.
Great ingredients make a great soup.
Quality ingredients make the best soups and stews too. Local root vegetables make a big flavour difference in this soup too.
In summer when garden tomatoes are more plentiful in local markets, try using them instead of canned. That will add a particularly bright fresh elementto the soup.
I’ve added locally foraged mushrooms to soup like this in the last few minutes of cooking too for nother flavour boost. It’s well worth trying that addition for sure.
The last time I served this soup to guests for lunch, I whipped up a quick batch of our Biscuit Muffin Bread to serve on the side. It takes mere minutes to prepare and everyone loved the fresh baked goodness to accompany the hearty soup.
Most often we will make a double batch of any soup to have some on hand at any time. We use individual serving sized airtight plastic containers to freeze soup for just that purpose.
The individual portions make it so easy to microwave for a quick lunch or to add to brown bag lunches for the office.
This is a terrific cold weather soup to warm your bones when you most need it.
(Originally published Dec 2012.)
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- 2 pounds diced beef
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1 onion, diced
- salt and pepper to season
- 3 cups canned stewed tomatoes
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme. (or 2 tsp dried thyme)
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3 large carrots, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 3 large parsnips, diced (turnip works well too)
- 1/2 cup barley
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 6 cups low sodium or unsalted beef stock
- 3 bay leaves
- In a large oven safe pot (a dutch oven is ideal) heat the olive oil over medium high heat.
- Add the diced beef and season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Cook for about 5 minutes until the beef is well browned. Like a stew, this browning process is the base for developing maximum flavour.
- Add the garlic and onions and cook for an additional minute until the onions begin to soften.
- Add the tomatoes, thyme and black pepper (plus the nutmeg if you are using it) (You can use an equivalent amount of fresh tomatoes if you like, especially if there is an abundance of them available in season.)
- Cover and place in a preheated 325 degree F oven for about 2 hours or until the meat is fall apart tender.
- Place the pot back on the stovetop and add the barley to the pot.
- Simmer very slowly for about a half hour, stirring the pot occasionally.
- After 30 minutes add all of the remaining ingredients.
- Simmer over low heat until the carrots are fork tender and the barley is fully cooked, about 20 more minutes.
- Taste the broth to see if it requires additional seasoning. Remove the bay leaves before serving.
Amount Per Serving Calories 449Total Fat 23gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 11gCholesterol 99mgSodium 701mgCarbohydrates 25gFiber 5gSugar 9gProtein 36g
The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.