Hands down, this Beef Barley Vegetable soup is one of my favourite soups. Thick, hearty, rich, beefy – simply mouth watering. It’s loaded with vegetables, tender barley and beef. The barley is an excellent source of fibre, protein and many important minerals, making this soup a healthy weeknight dinner (or lunch with the leftovers if there are any). It can, of course, be served as a soup starter in a mug, but I tend to make it a full meal in a big bowl, almost like a stew. I serve it with hot fresh bread for dipping …heaven. I have to beg my husband to save some for the next day or two.
The soup takes about 15 minutes to pull together before it simmers on the stove for an hour. There is one surprising ingredient in this recipe – a couple of tablespoons of au jus or demi-glace gravy mix, found in a package (I use Knorr Swiss, but even a brown gravy mix will do in a pinch). Essentially this is just a shortcut for adding a bit more depth of flavour and some thickening for the soup (add slightly less if you prefer your soup with less body). Very worthwhile, though, even though it feels a bit like cheating. Why not – it works.
The soup keeps well in the fridge. It does thicken as the barley absorbs the broth, so just add some water or broth to thin it out to your desired consistency the next day. This is a delicious soup perfect for the cold weather. I’ve even ladled it into mason jars and given it as gifts.
This recipe was loosely adapted from a recipe called Best Beef Barley Soup.