Barley, Beef, and Mushroom Soup

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Barley, beef, and mushroom soup

Please do not let this horrible photo dissuade you from making this soup.  It was not the most photogenic soup, I’ve ever made.  And yes, I am blaming the soup and not the photographer, okay.

It’s fall.  It really, really is.  Leaves falling.  Sweaters coming out of storage.  Sunday soups in the slow cooker.

Yep, I make a soup every Sunday.  Which means that for the rest of winter, I will always have carrots, celery and onions in my house, because with those you can make just about any soup known to mankind.

This time, I decided to use some of my grains.  Barley to be exact.  Where to go when searching for grain recipes?  I always turn to Whole Grains Every Day, Every Wayby Lorna Sass.  

This was so good!  The combination of dried mushrooms and fresh added layers of flavor and made the broth so rice and creamy.  I used ground beef instead of chuck.   Since I used the slow cooker, I browned my beef, put it in the slow cooker, sautéed the leeks, carrots and mushrooms and added them to the cooker with everything else and let it cook all day.  Total comfort food!

Barley, Beef, and Mushroom Soup

  • 1/4 ounce (1/4 cup) dried mushrooms
  • 1 pound beef chuck, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (or ground beef)
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 cups chopped leeks (white and light green parts)
  • 1 cup finely diced carrots
  • 1/2 pound cremini or button mushrooms, sliced, halved or quartered
  • 3/4 cup barley, preferably hull-less, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

Pour 2 cups of boiling water over the dried mushrooms (in a heat proof bowl) and let the soak for 10 to 15 minutes.

Season the beef with salt and pepper and heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet, over high heat.  Brown the beef for about 8 to 10 minutes, adjusting the heat if necessary.  Stir in the balsamic vinegar and cook for about 30 seconds.  Transfer to a plate (or slow cooker if you are using one).

If there is not fat in the pot, add the remaining oil.  Add the leeks, carrots and fresh mushrooms, season with salt.  Cook over medium-high heat until they soften, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the barley, browned beef and 6 cups of water (or just put in slow cooker).  Remove the soaked mushrooms with a slotted spoon, chop and add to the soup.  Pour in the mushroom soaking water, careful to not add any grit at the bottom.  If slow cooking – set on low for 8 hours.

Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat, simmer, partially covered until the beef and barley are tender, about 60 minutes.  Stir in the dill and adjust the seasonings.

Serves 6.


This will be my entry for Souper Sundays (Soup, Salad, or Sammie) hosted by Deb at Kahakai Kitchen.



This will be my entry for Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum!

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  1. says

    I’m posting an ugly soup today also! And you’re right…it’s totally the soup’s fault. But I like to think that the uglier it is, the tastier it is. Yeah?

  2. says

    Soups are difficult to shoot, aren’t they? This looks fabulous, although I’m not a huge fan of barley. I think I can make it and throw in some rice or orzo instead. My husband would be quite pleased, either way. :)

  3. says

    YUM! I Love barley! And you are so right about soups not being photogenic. That is one of the reasons why I didn’t post my shot of the barely stew I made last week! Your’s looks better than mine! 😉

  4. says

    I have to try this one, I can already imagine how good the chuck roast would break down and it’s collagen would add to the liquids, giving it a silky texture.

  5. says

    I did catch this one and enable you, and I got your last week’s entry in too. So we don’t miss again, if you just want to send me a message saying “soup this week” when you post or schedule your post, I can grab the details of your blog but at least I will know to look. Mahalo!

    BTW–The soup looks delicious to me. Usually the less pretty they are the better they taste. Thanks for sharing.

  6. says

    try as i might, i just can’t find a mushroom that i enjoy. regardless of this sad fact and your (questionably) bad photo, this sounds like a satisfying meal!

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