A classic comfort food, beef and barley soup is so much better when you make it from scratch. Serve with a big chunk of artisan bread for a satisfying winter meal.

Yield: Serves 4.



  • 1 lb (0.5 kg) stewing beef, cubed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper*
  • 1/4 cup oil, divided
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 4 - 6 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme, crumbled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup pot barley
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery


  1. Lightly sprinkle beef with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add beef in batches and brown on all sides, adding an additional 1 tbsp oil as necessary. Transfer beef to a plate.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining 2 tbsp oil to pan. Add onion and sauté, scraping to loosen browned bits, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 2 – 3 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring, until most of liquid is evaporated, about 5 minutes. Return beef and any accumulated juices to pan. Add broth, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour or until beef is tender.
  3. Meanwhile, cook barley in boiling salted water for 15 minutes; drain. Add barley, carrots and celery to mixture; cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until barley, carrots and celery are tender. Remove and discard thyme and bay leaf.
  4. Pour soup into shallow containers so it will cool quickly. Refrigerate soup for 8 hours or until fat solidifies on surface; remove and discard fat. Reheat soup to serve.
Nutritional analysis per serving:

427 calories, 28.7 g fat, 23.4 g protein, 20.6 g carbohydrate, 4.9 g fibre, 812 mg sodium

*Ingredient not included in nutritional analysis.