Beef Barley Soup – Make on the Stove or in a Crock Pot

Courtesy of

Wow. This was really, really good. As a part of my “I hate winter. It’s cold and I want to be warm” quest, I have been making a big pot of soup every week. I altered the recipe from the site only slightly.


2 pounds stew meat (nicely marbled beef chunks)
Salt & Pepper
2 tablespoons oil
10 cups water
3 mounded tablespoons good quality beef base*
4 stalks celery (about 2 cups), chopped
1 white onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 bag Simply Potato (or similar brand) shredded hash browns
4 large carrots, peeled and shredded, about 2 cups
1 cup instant barley (this is in the same aisle as rice at the grocery store)


Generously salt and pepper the beef. In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
When it is very hot, add about 1/3 of the meat.
Brown for about 1-2 minutes, then turn to brown the other side.
Remove to a plate when it is browned on all sides.
Repeat with remaining meat in 2 more batches. (If you add it all at once it will steam the meat instead of browning it) <--- This is important. Take the extra time. Seriously. When all the meat is browned, add all the meat back to the pot with 10 cups of water. Add 3 healthy tablespoons beef stock concentrate. (My grocery store was out of Better Than Bouillon so I used Knorr's. This is found in the soup aisle.) Add the chopped celery, onions, and garlic. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 2 hours with the lid on. When the meat is tender and you can break it apart easily with a wooden spoon, add the shredded potato and carrots. Bring to a boil, then continue to simmer on low for another 30-45 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. (at this point, I actually spooned some of my meat out to break it up. It's not required.) Add 1 cup of barley. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low. Cook for another half hour, or until barley is tender. SLOW COOKER INSTRUCTIONS: In a large pan, brown the meat according to the instructions. Remove the browned meat to a large crock pot. Add 2 cups of the water to the pan you cooked the meat in and bring to a boil. Stir up all the browned bits. Add this and the remaining 8 cups of water to the crock pot. Add the beef base, celery, onions, and garlic to the slow cooker and stir. Cook on low for about 6 hours. Add the potatoes and carrots and cook for another hour. Add the barley and simmer for another 30 minutes or so, until it is tender. If your meat is not marbled well, you might want to add a bit of Worcestershire sauce toward the end, to boost the flavor. If your soup has boiled down to become more stew-like, simply add more water and beef base.