One thing I absolutely love in homemade soup, is pearl barley and this Beef Vegetable Barley Soup is delicious. It's filling and a complete meal in a bowl, so much so, you won't miss the bread.
Recently I had the idea for a soup making day with my neighbour and good friend. You may wonder what exactly that involves, but it is actually pretty clever. The idea is, you pair up with a friend, both pick two soups you want to make, go out together and purchase the ingredients and then spend the day (or half the day in this case, thanks to my Instant Pot) cooking up the soups.
Once they are all cooked, you can then divide up and each of you have 4 difference soups to freeze for another day, great for getting some batch cooking done, especially if you dislike doing it by yourself. You can have a break for a cuppa, enjoy a bowl of one of the soups and have a good old chat and laugh while you chop up ingredients, and team together while one stirs and cooks while the other prepares.
One of the soups we chose to make was this delicious Beef and Barley Soup from The Food Charlatan. The only thing was, when when actually got round to making this one, we realized we actually must of been looking at a different recipe somewhere along the line and got the ingredients a bit mixed up, so me being me, put my little touch to it and so this is my adaption of the recipe.
My kids absolutely loved this Beef Vegetable Barley Soup, but then they love this Irish Beef Stew recipe, so I knew it would be a hit. Soups are great meals for fussy eaters, my kids have quite an aversion to certain vegetables but in a soup they will oddly eat anything, so if you really struggle with speed foods, I know there are some out there that really do not like many vegetables at all. Then make plenty of different soups until you find one you love.
At the end of the cooking session it was so awesome seeing all the different tubs of soup we had. I plan to do this regularly with other friends too. Next time, we are thinking we could do some curries and chilli type recipes, anything that is great for batch cooking and freezing.
One thing I will add, if you choose a soup with pasta, remember that the pasta will expand and be quite soft upon reheating, so if you like your pasta al dente, I recommend not adding the pasta until you are heating the soup, or pick soups with no pasta in them. I personally don't mind it if the pasta is a little over cooked, I just add a little more stock when defrosting and heating, and the great thing about that, is you end up with a lot more soup.
Check the instructions on the pearl barley you use. The one I used was a 10 minute pearl barley, so it doesn't take as long to cook. If you buy a regular pearl barley you will need to cook it for a bit longer, so check the directions on the packaging, other than that, you can follow the recipe to a t, unless of course you end up with some different ingredients like me and just adapt as you go along.
I also cooked this Beef Vegetable Barley Soup in my Instant Pot, so it was super quick to make, but if you do not have an instant pot then this can also be made stove top.
Wondering what an Instant Pot is? (check it out on amazon). It's a 7in1 cooker, and it slow cooks, pressure cooks, saute's, has settings for soup, chilli, rice, porridge and even makes yoghurt (I haven't tried that yet). Things that would normally take hours can be cooked in minutes. So it is awesome for batch cooking as you can get lots of soups/dishes made up in less than half the time it normally would take.
- 800g (28oz) of Lean Stewing Beef
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 stalks of celery, sliced
- 2 large carrots, sliced into thin batons
- 500g (17.5oz) 0f chopped and peeled butternut squash
- 300g (10.5oz) of Yukon gold potatoes, chopped (or use a similar waxy potato), peeled and chopped
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- ½ tbs of mixed herbs
- 1 tbs of balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup (240ml) of pearl barley (I used a 10 min variety)
- 8 cups (2 litres) of chicken or beef broth/stock
- salt and black pepper to season
- spray oil
- Fresh chopped Italian parsley
Turn the instant pot onto saute mode.
Once hot, spray with oil add half the beef and fry till browned.
Remove and add the other half of the beef and again fry till browned.
Remove and set aside.
Add a couple of ladles of water just to deglaze the bottom of the pan.
Then add in the onion, celery, carrot and garlic, spray with oil and fry for about 5 minutes just till the onion and celery are slightly softened and translucent.
Add back in the beef, along with the butternut squash, potatoes, mixed herbs, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, pearl barley and stock and little salt and black pepper.
Stir to combine.
Add lid, close valve and set to manual high for 15 mins, allow pressure to release naturally.
Season as needed with salt and black pepper and sprinkle with fresh chopped Italian Parsley
Stove Top - brown beef and then vegetables as directed in instructed, then add all other ingredients (except pearl barley) - bring to a boil and then simmer covered for 1 hour, added in the pearl barley for the last 10 mins or so until cooked.
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Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 337Total Fat 6.2gSodium 626mgCarbohydrates 32.3gFiber 6.7gSugar 1.9gProtein 39.8g