Soup is Good Food (Beef Barley Soup)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

beefbarleysoup3

Remember the old Campbell’s Soup advertising slogan, “Soup is Good Food”? It was a brilliant stroke of marketing genius. Unfortunately, the company was forced to pull that ad campaign in the late Eighties as a result of a legal issue, partially due to the products’ high sodium content. Since then, Campbell’s has launched a whole line of healthier, lower sodium soups. Good for them! Sadly, some of their soups, as well as several other brands, still contain some ingredient “no nos” such as MSG and high fructose corn syrup. But, that doesn’t mean that soup can’t still be good food. It can be, and is, very good food, especially when it’s homemade from your very own kitchen.

Last week, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that our temperatures were expected to dip into a decidedly “Fall-like” range. In fact, we actually had a few days where it never broke 70 degrees F. That’s a big deal around here! I decided to take advantage of the situation and make some good, old-fashioned, simmer on the stove all day, beef barley soup.

Most “made from scratch” soups are really not that difficult to accomplish. The key to a great soup is to start with a rich, flavorful stock. Once you have that, you can play around with different ingredients until you have the perfect soup for you.

beefbarleysoup2

I start my beef stock with a variety of different kinds of beef and beef bones, depending on what I can find at the market. My ideal combination is a mixture of beef marrow bones, oxtail and short ribs. To make a big pot of stock that will feed my family for a couple of nights, I use about 2-3 pounds of each. After I rinse and dry them, I lay them out on a baking sheet and toss them with salt, pepper and a little olive oil. Then, I roast them for about 60-90 minutes, until they are nice and browned.

beefbarleysoup4

After that, I dump them into a large stock pot along with all of the pan drippings and add carrots, celery and onions. I fill the pot with a mixture of beef broth and water until the beef is totally submerged and bring it all to a boil. When boiling, I reduce the heat and let the contents of the pot simmer for a good three or four hours. Then, I remove the meat and bones back to the baking sheet to cool. While the meat cools, I add the barley and whatever vegetables I plan to use and continue to simmer the soup for another hour. For convenience, I usually take a few packages of frozen mixed vegetables and toss them in as well. When cooled, I take the meat off of the bones and reserve. About ten minutes before I’m ready to serve the soup, I add the meat back in and heat it through.

I have to say, there is nothing that hits the spot better on a chilly evening quite like a nice, steaming hot bowl of hearty and delicious beef barley soup.

beefbarleysoup5

Enjoy!

Here are some other great cold weather soup recipes from the SGCC archives:

“Quick, But it Tastes Like it Took All Day” Chicken Soup

Soupe au Pistou

Spicy Pumpkin Soup

Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

Quick Caldo Verde

40 responses to Soup is Good Food (Beef Barley Soup)

  1. On November 02, 2008 at 11:25pm, Manggy said...

    Ah, the only thing missing would be a thick blanket (and in some cases, another person to be cozy with ;). I don’t live in a litigious society, so I dunno who could’ve possibly had issue with soup being good food… I mean, it’s not necessarily bad food either, even with the salt, right? Oh well :) I love the slow-cooked aspect of this, but still maintaining the exquisite flavors that come from caramelizing the meat :)

  2. On November 02, 2008 at 11:43pm, Jen Yu said...

    Mmm, soup weather at last! I love you for posting this recipe. I’ve never made it, but I *love* the soup. Now I have a trusted recipe to follow. The pic of the beef bones looks so good :) Did I mention I love you?!!? xxoo

  3. On November 03, 2008 at 12:55am, noble pig said...

    What a winning recipe, I love barley in soup, this looks warming and inviting.

  4. On November 03, 2008 at 5:50am, Bellini Valli said...

    Such a comforting recipe Susan. A bowl of this would go so well right now. I really should get into making more soups:D

  5. On November 03, 2008 at 5:55am, Sarah said...

    Beautiful! Nothing beats homemade stock as a base for soup. I love beef-barley, too; this looks like a winner!

  6. On November 03, 2008 at 6:03am, Ning said...

    I also believe that soups, specially hearty soups like this, are good for you. Warms the body, warms the heart! :)

  7. On November 03, 2008 at 7:52am, Darius T. Williams said...

    I bet this was absolutely great! This looks good and that beef…I bet it was tasty!

    -DTW
    http://www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com

  8. On November 03, 2008 at 7:58am, RecipeGirl said...

    I’m with you… I see clouds today and I better make some soup quickly before they go away! It’s supposed to be 68 today! Yay!

    I’m so impressed that you really go all out and make your own beef stock and everything. I never take the time to do that. You’re inspiring me!

  9. On November 03, 2008 at 8:20am, Louise at Livin Local said...

    Thanks for de-mystifying the making of a flavorful beef broth. Chicken broth has made many, many entrances into my home, but never beef. I’ll give this a try. Love the barley addition … the texture is so wonderful!

  10. On November 03, 2008 at 9:03am, Anne said...

    what a yummy-looking soup! it’s the kind of soup you could eat for days on end and still be happy and warm, i think.

  11. On November 03, 2008 at 9:18am, Engineer Baker said...

    Wow – I saw the first picture and immediately decided that I had to make it. I love love love soup season :)

  12. On November 03, 2008 at 9:43am, Snooky doodle said...

    these are the ideal winter food :)

  13. On November 03, 2008 at 10:43am, Passionate About Baking said...

    Soup for the heart & soup for the soul…warming & delicious!

  14. On November 03, 2008 at 11:14am, Susan from Food Blogga said...

    You’re so right, Susan. I love to make homemade soup. And I were Campbell’s, I’d be feeling nervous after seeing this soup. :)

  15. On November 03, 2008 at 11:19am, Maria said...

    looks like a comforting bowl of goodness!

  16. On November 03, 2008 at 11:56am, The Food Hunter said...

    Perfect timing. I’m thinking of making some beef soup this weekend and yours looks delicious. Thanks

  17. On November 03, 2008 at 12:08pm, Dee said...

    Your stock for this recipe surely must be wonderfully rich with those slow roasted beef bones. I adore soup & this one looks near perfect! Yum! I'm heading to the kitchen soon with this one in mind! thanks! Perfect November recipe!

  18. On November 03, 2008 at 1:50pm, CookiePie said...

    That is some hearty and delicious-looking soup! I bet the samily was thrilled to come home and find that on the table – yum!

  19. On November 03, 2008 at 2:37pm, Peter M said...

    Beef barley is one of my fave soups and you’ve represented it very well here..good on ya!

  20. On November 03, 2008 at 3:32pm, Hillary said...

    I never knew Campbells used that slogan but soup certainly is good food! Yours looks wonderful!

  21. On November 03, 2008 at 5:22pm, Karen said...

    I could gnaw on those roasted bones, they look so good! i love soup weather, too and plan to have a lot of it this Winter. Good recipe!

  22. On November 03, 2008 at 6:50pm, MaryBeth said...

    I so love soup and during this time of year I want to eat it all the time. Your beef barley soup looks so warm and inviting. Yum!

  23. On November 03, 2008 at 7:15pm, Cakelaw said...

    This would be fabulous to warm the tum in winter.

  24. On November 03, 2008 at 8:22pm, Choosy Beggar Tina said...

    You’re right, there’s nothing like beef barley on a warm day. Well, unless you count mushroom and barley. Or beef and vegetable. I’m such a soup floozy.

  25. On November 03, 2008 at 11:59pm, Lisa said...

    My aunt’s recipe for Beef Barley Soup is on my list of things to make soon. Now that I have seen your photos I can hardly wait. Your stock looks particularly gorgeous. YUM!

  26. On November 04, 2008 at 7:55am, Grace said...

    haven’t you seen those commercials pushing corn syrup? it’s not a bad thing! (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)
    i love barley in soup–it provides such a great contrasting texture and great nutrition too. :)

  27. On November 04, 2008 at 8:05am, Jescel said...

    wow.. i’m glad to know that there is still someone out there who is willing to invest her time in making a good, homemade soup.. impressive Susan! soup looks so good!

  28. On November 04, 2008 at 10:54am, Olga said...

    I’d love one bowl please :)
    The meat looks very tender!
    You are right: soup is perfect for this weather (also, chili!)

  29. On November 04, 2008 at 8:30pm, squawmama said...

    Wow this will be on my table some cold wintery day… Thanks for the recipe I loved it…Beff Barley YUMO!

    (((HUGS)))
    Donna

  30. On November 05, 2008 at 3:28pm, Proud Italian Cook said...

    Love your soup here Susan, but I must admit, I’d like to be nibbling on those bones!! :)

  31. On November 06, 2008 at 2:35am, Tish and Brian said...

    Mmm looks delicious! My dad loved soup and I made it for him fairly often even though making it the right way, like your recipe, takes hours. But damn is it ever good. I think I shall make some of this for myself soon and a veggie alternative for the boyfriend, too.

  32. On November 06, 2008 at 1:58pm, Ivy said...

    This soup looks to die for!
    I’ve gotta try this!
    The meat looks heavenly. :)

  33. On November 07, 2008 at 5:11pm, BanginFood said...

    I’m getting very hungry looking at this soup. It looks delicious, I’ll have to try it.

  34. On November 07, 2008 at 8:07pm, Meg said...

    I love barley and now I have a new way to enjoy it!

  35. On November 09, 2008 at 11:32am, Mary@SimplyForties said...

    Cooking soup is one of the great things about winter. Is anything better than walking in the door of a house with a pot of soup simmering on the stove? Yum!

  36. On November 11, 2008 at 8:13am, Jude said...

    I’ll never buy anything canned after this. Thanks for another great recipe.

  37. On November 12, 2008 at 5:52pm, Queen B. said...

    that looks amazing !

  38. On March 16, 2009 at 5:05pm, Holly said...

    i just love your recipes! i am making three of your soups this week alone!

  39. On March 16, 2009 at 7:13pm, StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

    Thanks so much, Holly! I’m so glad that you’re enjoying my recipes! :D

  40. On October 05, 2010 at 3:36pm, Vicky said...

    My mom made this yesterday and I must say, It was absolutely delicious!! Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe :)

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Hello and welcome to SGCC! I’m Susan, a professional writer, food columnist, recipe developer, wife, mother, daughter and sister, who used to be a lawyer in a previous life. My love of food comes from a long line of wonderful and creative Italian home cooks who didn’t always have a lot, but knew how to make a lot out of what they had. I hope that you enjoy yourself while you’re here, and visit often! read more >>

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