The Foodist: Hearty Beef Barley Soup

Dang! This soup is good!

This The Foodist: hearty beef barley soup is hands down one of my favorites! Meaty, with a delightful rich gravy, lots of chunky vegetables and the barley! So much good flavor, filling and very healthy!

It’s really simple to make, and the recipe makes a lot, so be prepared to freeze at least half! Use a vegetarian broth and shiitake or portabello mushrooms to give it that meaty hearty taste! Best of all is this soup keeps well in the fridge and freezes beautifully in a ziploc bag stored flat.

The barley is fantastic in this soup, but it has a caveat! When you add barley into a soup it absorbs liquids. Each time you reheat this soup, add a bit of water, otherwise it quickly becomes a dry stew!

Build This Stew Slowly

Do NOT underestimate the time and attention this broth requires. Also, the extra veggies are so worth the time in this soup. And no Mezzacello The Foodist recipe would be complete without our beloved mirepoix!


  • Broth Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 pounds beef shank meat cut from bone in large chunks, or 4 pounds chuck and 2 pounds of small marrow bones
    • Substitute meaty mushrooms pan seared with garlic for vegetarian option
  • 1 large onion, halved
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • Soup Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Anchovy paste
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic, crushed/pressed
  • 1 medium onion, cut into medium dice
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into medium dice
  • 2 medium celery stalks, cut into medium dice
  • 12 ounces domestic mushrooms or wild mushrooms, stems removed, wiped clean, and sliced thin
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme or 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • ½ cup canned tomatoes, cut into medium dice
  • 1 small can of sweet corn
  • 1 cup of small tender Brussels Sprouts, halved
  • 6 medium red potatoes, quartered
  • ½ cup pearl barley
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley leaves
  • Salt and ground black pepper


  1. For Broth: Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large soup kettle or Dutch oven over medium-high heat; brown meat, bones, and onion halves on all sides in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan, and adding the additional teaspoon and a half of oil to the pan if necessary. Remove and set aside.
  2. Add red wine to the empty kettle; cook until reduced to a syrup, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Return browned bones, meat, and onion to kettle. Reduce heat to low, then cover and sweat meat and onions until they have released about 3/4 cup dark, very intensely flavored liquid, about 20 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add 2 quarts water and salt; bring to a simmer, reduce heat to very low, partially cover, and barely simmer until meat is tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  4. Strain broth, discard bones and onions, and set meat aside, reserving half of the meat for another use. (At this point broth and meat can be cooled to room temperature and covered and refrigerated up to 5 days.) Let broth stand until fat rises to the top; skim and discard fat. When the unreserved meat is cool enough to handle, shred into bite-size pieces. Reserve 2 cups shredded meat for soup.
  5. For Soup: Heat oil over medium-high heat in a soup kettle or Dutch oven.
  6. Add mirepoix (onion, celery, and carrots) Brussels Sprouts, and potatoes; sauté until almost soft, 3 to 4 minutes.
  7. Add corn, pastes, worcestershire sauce, and mushrooms; sauté until softened and liquid almost evaporates, 4 to 5 minutes longer.
  8. Add thyme and tomatoes, then beef broth, meat, and barley; bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low; simmer until barley is just tender, 45 to 50 minutes. Scraping bottom of the pan occasionally.
  9. Stir in parsley, adjust seasonings, including salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

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