Get ready to savor the perfect blend of tender beef, hearty barley, and aromatic vegetables in this mouthwatering Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Soup. Not only will it fill your home with a delightful aroma, but it’s incredibly easy to make, and perfect for a cozy weeknight dinner or a satisfying lunch.
It’s winter and for me that means lots of soup recipes. I love a warm and filling bowl of soup on chilly days and this beef barley soup is no different. It’s one of my favorites and once you give it a try, I’m certain it will be one of yours too.
This beef barley soup recipe has an amazing flavor that comes with slow cooking to allow the seasonings and vegetables to mesh together. What it creates is a flavorful bowl of healthy goodness that only took you a few minutes to throw together! It’s packed with nutrition, is high in fiber and protein and is low in calories making it great for those of us watching our waistlines.
One of my favorite parts about this beef and barley soup is the amount of veggies I can toss in it. I love a soup with lots of chunky vegetables and this one has that and more! It’s packed with carrots, onions, celery and sliced mushrooms. Toss your ingredients in the crockpot with pearl barley and tender chunks of beef and before you know it there are no leftovers!
What Other Vegetables Can Be Added to Beef and Barley Soup?
If you would like more vegetables, add them! Sweet peas are an especially good addition. I’ve also added diced potatoes and even broccoli in the past. Just remember cooking time and add your veggies according to that. For instance, adding broccoli has to be done at the end of the cooking cycle. If it’s added too early, it will cook into mush.
What Cut of Meat is Best for Beef Barely Soup?
Any beef will work when you’re making a barley and beef soup, but my actual recipe calls for blade steak. However, I’ve made it with ground beef, beef stew meat and beef chuck roast in the past too. Use what you have on hand and call it good. It won’t change the flavor too awful much.
But, you do want to use a lean cut of beef if possible. Fat is necessary in recipes for great flavor, but too much in this soup will turn your batch into a greasy mess.
Do You Cook Barley Before Adding to Soup?
While some recipes may call for pearled barley to be cooked before being added, this recipe does not. Instead, you will add the barley pearls to the crockpot with the other ingredients and let them cook together. Once the barley reaches your desired consistency, your soup is done.
How Do You Increase Beef Flavor in Soup?
Soups that turn out flavorless is usually the result of one of two things; meat that is too lean or not enough seasonings. Salt and pepper are essential in soups and stews since they are so heavily water based. In this case, a lack of beef flavor would be meat that is too lean or a beef broth that was flavorless to begin with.
If you have want a stronger beef flavor in a slow cooker soup, simply add a couple of beef bouillon cubes or a few splashes of “wash ‘yer sister sauce” (Worcestershire sauce) and allow them to cook down. Stir well and give your soup broth a taste.
If it’s reached the flavor profile you’re looking for just allow it to cook like normal. If not, adjust the salt, pepper and garlic in the broth and re-taste. It is better to under season a recipe than over season though so be mindful. You can always add more seasonings but you can’t remove them once they’re in the pot.
How Do You Thicken Beef Barley Soup?
If you prefer a thicker sauce over a broth with your beef barley soup, make a cornstarch slurry by adding 1 Tbsp cornstarch (cornflour outside of the US) to 2 tbsp cold water. Stir the slurry well and add to your soup. As the soup continues to cook, the slurry will help it to thicken up more.
If you are adding a cornstarch slurry to your soup and you are slow cooking it, you will want to turn your soup to high. Watch so that it does not burn and take into account the shorter cook time, but bringing your slow cooker to a simmer will help the slurry to thicken the sauce.
How to Store Leftover Beef Barley Soup?
Beef and barley soup stores well in the fridge for up to 4-days after it’s cooked. If you need to keep it fresh longer, you will need to freeze it. It does freeze well, although there can be a slight change in texture with the barley.
To freeze it, use an airtight food storage container or a silicone soup mold. Store it in the freezer up to 3-months. To reheat, simply pop it in the microwave for a few mins or bring it to a boil over medium-high heat on the stove.
Side note: These silicone soup molds that I mentioned are actually amazing. I use the 1-cup and 2-cup ones and love, love, love them! They have been well worth the cost!
Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Soup Recipe
- 1 lb Beef blade steak or any other inexpensive cut
- ½ C. Pearl Barley
- 6 C. Beef Broth
- 1 C. Carrot chopped
- 3 stalks Celery chopped, leafy portion included
- ½ medium Onion Large (or 1 whole small onion)
- 1 C. White Button Mushrooms sliced
- 1 Tbsp. Tomato Paste heaping
- 1 Bay leaf large or 2 small
- 2 tsp. Garlic powder separated 1 tsp. each
- 2 tsp. Seasoned salt separated 1 tsp. each
- 2 tsp. Black Pepper separated 1 tsp. each
- olive oil drizzle
- 1 tsp. Thyme optional
- 1 tsp. Parsley optional
- Preheat skillet with a good drizzle olive oil. Cut beef into bite-sized chunks and chop/slice celery, onion, carrot and mushrooms.olive oil
- Add beef to hot skillet with 1 teaspoon seasoned salt, 1 tsp garlic powder and 1 tsp black pepper. Sear each piece, but do not cook all the way through.1 lb Beef blade steak, 2 tsp. Garlic powder, 2 tsp. Seasoned salt, 2 tsp. Black Pepper
- Add the seared beef to slow cooker.
- Layer vegetables and barley pearls on top of the beef in any order.½ C. Pearl Barley, 1 C. Carrot, 3 stalks Celery, ½ medium Onion, 1 C. White Button Mushrooms
- Add tomato paste and seasonings.½ medium Onion, 1 Tbsp. Tomato Paste, 1 Bay leaf, 2 tsp. Garlic powder, 2 tsp. Seasoned salt, 2 tsp. Black Pepper, 1 tsp. Thyme, 1 tsp. Parsley
- Pour beef broth over the other ingredients.6 C. Beef Broth
- Cook on low 5 hours 30 minutes. Check barley to see if it is done to your liking. If not, cook another 30 minutes.
- Remove bay leaf and serve hot.
- Nutrition facts are auto-calculated and may not be correct. Please use discretion if you follow a special diet.