Beef and Barley Vegetable Soup Recipe

As part of the food blogger community and as a resident of the south, I am participating in today’s call for relief for Hurricane Sandy’s victims in the Northeast.  Besides calling for donations and action from our readers, we were also asked to post a comfort food recipe. One that we’d make for a friend or family member in need or in time of crisis.  To me, this beef and barley vegetable soup recipe is one of the most comforting foods I can think of.

Beef and Barley Vegetable Soup

By now I’m sure everyone’s aware of the Hurricane Sandy crisis that still plagues those in the Northeast.  I am personally a survivor of Hurricane Katrina and know first hand what it is like to suffer personal material loss. It can be devastating. Even though stuff is just stuff and can be replaced, when you lose so much of it at once, it can be overwhelming.  When your home is no longer a place you can live, it is demoralizing.  It will take a very long time for the physical recovery and even longer for the mental recovery.  This doesn’t even touch on losing loved ones, which sadly, many have in this case as well.

Our friends and neighbors in the Northeast need our help.  The government can only do so much.  It’s up to us to do the rest.  To help, to be human, to be kind.  Please search your heart and donate to the organization that you feel best suits your personal feelings and beliefs.  Every little bit helps, even $5 or $10.

So if you need some time to reflect and dwell on what’s in your heart, do that.  And let’s talk about the recipe, and we’ll try to figure it all out together.  This recipe is a very traditional version of a beef vegetable soup.  I wanted to go old-school with this. It’s like the classic vegetable soup of your childhood.  Well at least of my childhood because my mom was (and is) one heck of a good cook.  We always ate really well growing up.  Thanks, Mom!

Once you get all the ingredients prepped up for this recipe, the rest is a breeze.  As you can see below in the recipe section, the method for this soup is easy.  It’s just the time it takes to cook.  While that’s happening, you have time to clean the kitchen, grab a cup of coffee or tea and choose which charity you want to donate to for Hurricane Sandy relief victims.  See, it all works out!

A couple of quick notes about ingredients – because you know I can’t help myself. I used turnips here instead of potatoes since I was using barley as a starch.  I like the consistency of turnips better in a soup like this than potatoes.  They don’t get as mushy and are much healthier for you overall.

Vegetable Ingredients

I also used frozen peas here because I feel they are the closest thing to fresh peas, which can be difficult to find.  I do use canned tomatoes here only because I prefer the flavor of a canned tomato this time of year to a fresh tomato.  Be sure to buy the whole tomatoes and crush them by hand yourself.  You get a much higher quality tomato when you buy whole canned tomatoes than when you buy already crushed tomatoes.

Finally, the beef.  I used a chuck roast here because Whole Foods had it on sale for $4.99/lb.  You can use whatever cut of beef you like best in a soup or stew.  The meat cooks for a very long time so it’ll be tender no matter what roast cut you end up using.

Beef and Barley

So, it’s been a little while… Have you thought more about what you can do to help?  I hope so.  I know I have.  My donation is made and I’m already feeling a little bit better. Jeremy and I are actually going up to New York next week to spend Thanksgiving with his family.  I look forward to shopping and dining in NYC and the region to further support my fellow Americans.

Beef and Barley Vegetable Soup

Now that we’re all warm, cozy and happy in our little worlds, let’s move on to that recipe…

Yield: 8-10 servings

Beef and Barley Vegetable Soup Recipe

This soup is loaded with chuck roast beef and lots of vegetables. It's a thick, delicious, comforting soup that you'll crave all winter.


  • 1/4 cup light olive oil
  • 1 pound stew meat (chuck or round), cubed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cups diced onions
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 10 cups water and/or beef stock
  • 1-28 ounce can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 3/4 cup pearled barley
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3 turnips, peeled and large diced
  • 1-14 ounce bag frozen peas


  1. Over high heat in a large soup pot, heat the olive oil. Once heated, add the meat, kosher salt and black pepper.
  2. Cook for 2-3 minutes until meat is brown on all sides.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium-high and add the onions and celery. Cook for 10 minutes, until softened and onions are translucent.
  4. Next add the garlic and cook one more minute, until fragrant.
  5. Then add the water and/or stock, tomatoes, carrots, barley and the other tablespoon of kosher salt.
  6. Crank stove heat up to high, bring to a boil, then reduce immediately to a simmer.
  7. Simmer for 45 minutes partially covered.
  8. Add the turnips and peas and simmer another 45 minutes and then serve.

Keeps well in refrigerator up to one week in an air tight container.

Prep:35 min

Cook:1 hour 45 min

Total:2 hour 20 min

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