So you ask, what is barley? Barley is a wonderfully versatile cereal grain with a rich nut-like flavor and an appealing chewy, pasta-like consistency. In fact, if you did not know better, you would swear it was pasta. In most grocery stores, it is in the soup aisle and is packed in a box about the same size as a pasta box. It simmers and swells just like pasta does in soup. There are two kinds, Medium Barley and Quick Barley. Medium Barley cooks in about forty-five minutes, and Quick Barley cooks in about twelve minutes. I use the medium version with the chuck roast when things are more leisurely. I use the quick version with the stew meat when pressed for time.

Beef and Barley Soup

Add a little oil in a large stockpot or dutch oven and brown the chuck roast or stew meat. Remove from the heat and add a little more oil. Add the carrots, onions, and celery and cook for about five minutes. Stir in the garlic, parsley, oregano, and thyme, and cook for just a minute or so, stirring constantly. Finally, add the beef broth, diced tomatoes, bay leaf, and beef back to the pot.

If using chuck roast, simmer for about 1 1/2 hours or until the roast is fork-tender. If using stew meat, simmer for about 20 minutes

Add the corn and the barley. Cook until the barley is tender. Use the medium barley with the chuck roast; it will take about 45 minutes for the barley to swell and be soft. Use the quick barley with the stew meat, which will take about 15 minutes to cook.

Remove the roast from the pot and trim, cutting the tender beef away from any gristle or fat. Cut or shred into bite-size chunks and return to the pot.

Beef Barley Soup Recipe


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