Beef Mushroom Barley Soup

The weekly soup continues with a recipe for Beef Mushroom Barley soup, adapted from Elly. I couldn’t believe how fabulous this soup turned out. The flavor was amazing, the meat perfectly tender and it was amazingly easy to put together. This rivals homemade wedding soup as my current favorite – it was THAT good! It does take about 2.5 hours from start to finish, but trust me when I tell you that the waiting is well worth it!

The substitution you find below for the red wine was found in Cook’s Illustrated Fall 2007 issue. To replace wine in a dish, use the following ratio:

1/2 cup wine = 1/2 cup broth + 1 teaspoon wine vinegar (red or white, based on recipe)

Beef Mushroom Barley Soup
(Source: Elly Says Opa!)

1 lb. beef (I used stew meat)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt & pepper
1 cup water
1 cup red wine (I substituted 1 cup beef broth + 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar)

2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup carrots, sliced (about 3 carrots)
1 cup celery, sliced (about 3 ribs)
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups beef broth
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 bay leaf
Salt & pepper

1/2 cup barley
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced

1. Season beef with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot. Add meat and brown. Pour in water and red wine (or broth/vinegar mixture) and simmer for approximately 1 hour.

2. Remove beef and cut into bite-size pieces. Skim fat and reserve 1/2 cup of cooking liquid; discard remaining liquid.

3. Melt butter in the stockpot. Add onion, carrots and celery and saute until tender. Stir in garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in beef broth and add thyme, basil, bay leaf, beef and reserved cooking liquid. Simmer for 20-30 minutes; season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Add barley and mushrooms and simmer for approximately 40 minutes.


23 Responses to “Beef Mushroom Barley Soup”

  1. Elly on September 18, 2007 at 9:40 pm

    I’m so glad you liked it! It’s one of Tom’s favorites, too, because it’s so flavorful and hearty. I look forward to your next soup, as I am also doing the weekly soup thing 🙂


  2. Carrie on September 19, 2007 at 7:06 am

    Thanks for the wine substitution! I’ll have to try this soup. Looks tasty!


  3. Renea on September 20, 2007 at 10:15 am

    It looks great! Elly always has the best recipes.


  4. Mom on September 23, 2007 at 10:43 pm

    This soup looks great Chelle! Sounds like a good choice on a cool Fall day.


  5. Bev and Ollie "O" on September 28, 2007 at 10:39 am

    oh my goodness! this looks good too!`yummy x


  6. DJ on March 4, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    I found your recipe by googling “beef barley soup blog.” I’m not big on the commercial recipe sites, so usually find recipes (and great blog sites) in this way.

    I don’t make many recipes with beef involved, but my husband likes it from time to time. I do have very fond memories of my father’s Saturday soups and beef barley was one of his best efforts. And, after all these years, I just found out it is my husband’s favorite soup–a detail he’s kept back because he knows beef isn’t my thing…how sweet.

    Also, on his behalf, I purchased a large sampler pack of grass fed beef from a farmer at the local market last fall and we are still working our way through it. Grass fed beef is very lean and so I am–by trial and error–learning how to prepare it. This recipe seems just right.

    I’ll report back. Thanks!!


  7. Michelle on March 4, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    DJ – I’ll be anxious to hear how you liked this dish! Glad you enjoy surfing blogs 🙂


  8. Cordia on October 7, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Yet another excellent recipe! This turned out sooo good! I omitted the mushrooms only b/c my hubby doesnt like them. I have a whole bag of pearl barley that I wanted to use more of, so this was perfect! I also love the red wine substitution b/c I never have wine on hand and hate to have to make a special trip and buy wine just for a small amount in a recipe ( I cant drink any now b/c I’m pregnant 🙂 ). I am going to make this again and freeze for post baby meals!!


  9. laughinglunchlady on February 26, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    Soups on right now and the kitchen smells delish! It will be ready to eat once the barley is done. Thank you for a good hearty recipe on a snowy day! ps.. I just stumbled onto your blog and I LOVE IT! This is the first recipe that I am trying from your site and I already have a few more I want to try.


  10. laughinglunchlady on February 26, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    The verdict is in! Soup not only smells good but tastes really good too!!! A welcome change to my two staple soups, Chicken soup and Ham & potatoe soup.


  11. Dawni45 on July 28, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Fabulous…. 2nd time in the making and looks, tastes and smells the same


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  14. Kristen Murcko on September 28, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Hey there….trying this recipe this weekend. Need to feed at least 6. How many bowls does this make? Shoudl I double the recipe? Thanks!


    • Michelle on September 28th, 2011 at 8:59 pm

      This will definitely serve 6. I am in the process of updating all of my recipes with the serving information, but haven’t made it this far back yet.


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  16. Rosanne on October 22, 2011 at 2:02 am

    Just made this the other day…delicious!! My husband asked for this to be a regular menu item at our house. I couldn’t find any barley here (Ireland), so I just used basmati rice and it was fabulous, can only imagine how delicious it must be with the barley. Thanks for sharing!! Oh, just wondering if you brought the meat, water, wine to a boil before simmering or just went straight to simmer?


    • Michelle on October 22nd, 2011 at 1:43 pm

      Hi Rosanne, I didn’t bring it to a boil, just got it to a nice even simmer and then kept it there.


  17. bhive01 on January 2, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Made this for the second time today. Wonderful recipe. Previously I made the mistake of not removing the fat after simmering the meat in wine. It left a very greasy and sand-like texture in the final soup. Used a fat separator this time and kept all the liquid for the final soup. Doubled the vegetables and barley (cause I like extra of both). I was reading a Cook’s Illustrated recipe for beef stew and they suggested using anchovies and porcini mushrooms. Instead of adding water to go with the wine to cook the beef in the beginning I rehydrated some porcini’s and used that liquid to cook with and also added back all of the cooking liquid (-fat). Really amazing soup and with all the extra stuff it was a bit more hearty.


  18. Cornelia Cree on January 10, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    I was disappointed with this recipe. There was no where near enough broth so it came out as a stew. I wondered why half of the cooking liquid was discarded. I think in the future I will include that plus an additional can of lo-sodium chicken broth or some extender. Other than not having a bay leaf in the house, I followed the recipe exactly which I always do with a new recipe. I used the wine Cabernet Savingnon. I served it with sour dough bread toasts. It served 5.


  19. Shannon on January 8, 2013 at 12:24 am

    I made this soup tonight and it is fantastic. I really enjoyed it, thank you.


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  21. Domenica on February 8, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    I made this for dinner today and it was delish! Thanks for the great recipe!


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