This Vegetable Beef and Barley Soup is a hearty, soul-warming soup consisting of melt-in-your-mouth beef short rib, tender chewy barley and loaded with turnips, carrots and mushrooms. Yields roughly 12 cups and will serve 8 (1-1/2 cup) servings.
Since the weather has turned cooler all I can think about is soup.
Specifically vegetable beef and barley. This soup is so simple, rustic and flavorful. It’s what you want after raking leaves or shoveling snow. This one pot soup has tender pieces of beef short rib, barley, leeks and turnips, carrots and mushrooms swimming in flavorful beef broth. I also like to add green peas for a pop of color.
And is delicious served with a loaf of crusty seedy bread and a glass (or two!) of your favorite red wine.
To Make This Vegetable Beef and Barley Soup You Will Need:
- carrots – Adds color and subtle sweetness.
- leeks – Lends a distinct sweet and oniony flavor.
- onions – Adds a sweet and subtle onion flavor to the soup.
- kosher salt – This will draw out flavor of the vegetables and seasons the soup.
- turnips – Are vitamin and nutrient rich and can withstand the long cooking time.
- mushrooms – Add delicious earthy flavor and texture.
- avocado oil – Or use any neutral oil made for high temperature cooking/roasting. (like grapeseed or sunflower oil)
- beef short ribs – Lends delicious flavor, richness and get ridiculously tender in this soup.
- barley – Use pearled barley and not quick cooking barley for this soup.
- beef stock – The base of the soup, use fat free homemade or high-quality store-bought stock.
- green peas – No need to thaw, just throw them in and they will thaw and heat through in minutes.
- fresh ground pepper – Adds some subtle bite and flavor.
Always start by prepping the ingredients. I like to start with the veggies and get them out of the way. For this soup you will need; 3 medium carrots (sliced into coins), 1 large yellow onion and 3 medium leeks.
WHAT THE EASIEST WAY TO CLEAN LEEKS?
Start by trimming off the top, tough dark green parts and removing any tough outer leaves. Slice the leek in half from top to the root end, keeping each half of the root end intact. Fan each half under a steady stream of cool water to rinse away any sand. Pat dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel and slice or chop.
You will also need 1 pound mushrooms, cleaned and halved.
And 3 medium turnips, peeled and diced to roughly 3/4-inch pieces.
Heat 1-1/2 tablespoons avocado oil in a large (6 to 8 quart) dutch oven.
Use paper towel to pat dry 2 to 3 pounds (this can be 2 to 6 depending on their size) of bone-in beef short ribs. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that the weight listed does include the bones. With that said, if you want less beef and more veggies, use 2 pounds short ribs. If you like more meat in your soup use 3 pounds.
Should I use Bone-in or Boneless Short Ribs for this recipe?
I like to use bone-in short ribs because I like to sear them to give the soup a deep rich flavor. However you don’t have to sear them if you’re short on time.
I’ve also used boneless short ribs, skipped the browning and just added them in with the vegetables and broth and cooked as instructed – this is a great time saver if you can find them.
Season all sides of the short ribs with kosher salt.
Once the pan and oil is hot, sear the short ribs on all sides. Or don’t and skip this step and add them in with the vegetables and broth.
Once browned, transfer the short ribs to a clean plate and drain and discard majority of the oil in the pot, leaving only a little behind.
To the pan, add the carrots, onion and leeks with a pinch of kosher salt. Stir and cook roughly 2 minutes, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pot.
Next add in the turnips and mushrooms.
Pour in 2 quarts (8 cups) of fat free beef stock.
Lastly, add in 1/2 cup pearled barley. You do not want to use quick cooking barley for this recipe.
Give it a stir, add the short ribs back in and cover the pot with the lid.
Heat over medium-low to low heat and let it simmer (covered) for 3 hours.
After the 3 hours, the beef should be falling off the bones.
Use tongs to remove the bones and discard.
Give the short rib meat a chop, discarding any overly fatty pieces you might find.
Add the beef back in along with 3/4 cup frozen green peas. They only need a minute or so to heat through.
Taste and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to your preference.
WHAT IS THE EASIEST WAY TO SKIM FAT OFF OF A POT OF SOUP OR STEW:
If you find your soup or any broth based soup, stew or braising liquids for that matter, to have a layer of oil or fat on top of the soup (hey, short ribs can be fatty) – I have two tricks for you!
- You can make the soup a day in advance. Once cooled place in the fridge overnight, the fat will rise to the top and solidify in the fridge. You can then remove the cold hardened fat and discard. Then reheat when ready to serve. OR
- Allow the fat to rise to the top. Run a ladle under cool water and wipe dry. Fill the ladle with ice and skim the bottom of the ladle over the top of soup. The fat will freeze and stick to the underside of the ladle. Wipe the grease off of the ladle and repeat if necessary. You may also need to replace the ice as you go as it will melt.
Ladle soup into bowls and top with minced fresh parsley and extra freshly ground black pepper.
Serve this Vegetable Beef and Barley Soup with crusty bread or next to a grilled cheese sandwich!
Vegetable Beef and Barley Soup
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
- 3 medium leeks, washed and sliced
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 3 medium turnips, peeled and diced
- 1 pound mushrooms, cleaned and halved
- 1½ tablespoons avocado oil, or other neutral oil safe for high heat
- 2 pounds beef short ribs, bone-in or boneless (see notes)
- kosher salt
- 8 cups beef stock, fat free
- 1/2 cup pearled barley, not quick cooking barley
- 3/4 cup frozen peas
- freshly ground black pepper, more or less to taste
- Clean and prep your vegetables.
- Add avocado oil to 6-quart (or larger) dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat.
- Use paper towel to pat the short ribs dry and then season all sides with kosher salt.
- Once the pan and oil is hot, sear the short ribs on all sides.Note: I like to sear the short ribs for the deep rich flavor, however if short on time, you can skip this step and add them in with the vegetables and broth.
- Once browned, transfer the short ribs to a clean plate and drain and discard majority of the oil in the pot, leaving only a little behind.
- To the pan, add the carrots, onion and leeks with a pinch of kosher salt. Stir and cook 2 minutes, scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pot.
- Add in the turnips and mushrooms. Pour in the beef stock, add the barley and stir.Add the browned short ribs back in, cover the pot and heat over medium-low for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Once time is up, use tongs to remove the short rib bones. Chop the meat (discarding any tough or fatty pieces) and add the beef back into the soup along with the peas. Stir and heat through - should only take a minute.
- Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to your preference.
Bone-in or Boneless Short Ribs?- I like to use bone-in short ribs because I like to sear them to give the soup a deep rich flavor. However you don't have to sear them if you're short on time. - I've also used boneless short ribs in this recipe. I skipped the browning and just added them in with the vegetables and broth and cooked as instructed - this is a great time saver if you can find them.
WHAT IS THE EASIEST WAY TO SKIM FAT OFF OF A POT OF SOUP OR STEW:- Make the soup a day in advance. Once cooled place in the fridge overnight, the fat will rise to the top and solidify in the fridge. You can then remove the cold hardened fat and discard. Then reheat. OR - Allow the fat to rise to the top. Run a ladle under cool water and wipe dry. Fill the ladle with ice and skim the bottom of the ladle over the top of soup. The fat will freeze and stick to the underside of the ladle. Wipe the grease off of the ladle and repeat if necessary. You may also need to replace the ice as you go.
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