Luxurious Beef Barley Soup

Luxurious Beef Barley Soup ~ put another log on the fire and cozy up with a steaming mug of this classic comforting soup.

Luxurious Beef Barley Soup

What makes this soup luxurious?  In a nutshell, it’s the generous dose of sherry.  Sherry gives the broth an old world, restaurant with leather booths and white tablecloths kind of flavor.  But don’t leave out the little chunks of tender steak, sauteed shallot, the slender inner stalks (and leaves!) of celery, chewy barley, or the best quality beef cooking stock.  It’s all of a piece and it makes the most satisfying cold night soup ever.

One of my warmest food memories is walking home for lunch from elementary school and sitting down at the kitchen table with my mother over a bowl of soup.  Canned.  With Saltines on the side.  And Beef Barley was one of my favorites.  When I saw that my friend Sarah posted this Chicken Barley Soup I got inspired to recreate my childhood favorite.  Minus the Saltines.

Hearty Beef Barley Soup

This is an old fashioned kind of soup without exotic spices or fancy techniques.  I think the inner leaves of celery, like parsley, are an underrated and underused ingredient.  I love the fresh flavor they add to soups and stews.  I always reserve a handful to toss on as a garnish at the last minute.

This makes a small pot of soup,   My husband and I had it for dinner, and then lunch the next day.  Double the recipe if you’re feeding a crowd.

Luxurious Beef Barley Soup

Yield: serves 3 or 4


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lb steak or lean beef, cut in bite sized pieces
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • 2 tsp flour
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 or 3 inner stalks of celery, sliced, leaves and all
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1/4 cup dry Sherry
  • 1 26 oz box good quality beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 more inner stalk of celery, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce


  1. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed soup pot. Season the beef with salt and pepper, then toss with the flour.
  2. Brown the beef on all sides over medium high heat and then set aside on a plate.
  3. Add the shallot, onion and celery to the pan and saute for a minute. Add a touch more oil if the pan is dry. Add in the barley and toast the barley for another minute, stirring constantly.
  4. Add in the Sherry and let it sizzle down, then add the beef stock and bay leaves. Bring up to a boil, then turn down the heat, cover, and let simmer until the barley is tender, about 35-40 minutes.
  5. Add the meat and any juices back into the pot, along with the carrots and last bit of celery. Add the Worcestershire sauce, and more salt and pepper to taste. Continue to simmer until the carrots soften but don’t get mushy. Remove the bay leaves, and taste to adjust the seasonings.
  6. If you refrigerate the soup before serving it will thicken a bit, you can thin it down with extra water as you reheat.

Serve with some bread or rolls, and a salad for a complete winter dinner.  Here’s a sneak peek at what I made to go with our soup.  I’ll post the recipe later this week.  Hint: they are fluffy, whole grain, and really really quick to make.


  • Reply
    Joyce W
    September 16, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Husband loved it, I will definitely make again- thanks

    • Reply
      September 16, 2014 at 3:49 pm

      Thanks Joyce!

  • Reply
    December 9, 2013 at 9:36 am

    This soup is great — I’ve made it twice now and we’ve eaten every last drop. Luxurious is the right word for it.
    I would recommend par-boiling the carrots before you throw them in the broth, though. Both times, I’m thinking I’m just about done cooking and ready to eat, and then I’ve had to wait 45+ minutes for the carrots to get soft! So either figure that into your time frame or soften them up in another pot while you’re getting the stew together.

    • Reply
      December 9, 2013 at 10:16 am

      For this soup I cut my carrots in a pretty small dice so that they will cook quicker than usual. Glad you liked it, you’re reminding me to make it again, it’s really cold here this week!

  • Reply
    October 21, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Love the soup! Love your recipes, love your photography! Who makes that gorgeous mug? I’d love a set!
    I make quick rolls in the food processor…toss it all in, rest, shape and bake….
    13 rolls
    Prep: 25 min. + rising Bake: 15 min.
    2 to 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1 package (1/4 ounce) quick-rise yeast
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    3/4 cup warm water (120° to 130°)
    2 tablespoons plus 4 teaspoons butter, melted, divided
    3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese 3 0z.
    2 teaspoons honey
    1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
    In a large bowl, combine 1-1/2 cups flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Add water and 2 tablespoons butter; beat on medium speed for 3 minutes or until smooth. Stir in cheese and enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
    Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 4-6 minutes. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Divide into 13 pieces. Shape each into a ball. Place in a greased 9-in. round baking pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.
    Bake at 375° for 11-14 minutes or until lightly browned. Combine the honey, garlic salt and remaining butter; brush over rolls. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Yield: 13 rolls.
    Nutrition Facts: 1 roll equals 131 calories, 5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 15 mg cholesterol, 169 mg sodium, 18 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 fat.

    • Reply
      October 21, 2013 at 12:00 pm

      Ooooh Pauline, thanks for the recipe, I’m going to try it. The cheddar cheese sounds like a great addition. The mug is by Sandy Kreyer, I’ve been buying her dishes forever, and actually she is advertising on the site right now, on the right sidebar! You can find her on Etsy…

  • Reply
    August 30, 2013 at 10:41 am

    Looks delicious. I love any soup with barley in it.

  • Reply
    Jan Janzen
    August 30, 2013 at 10:26 am

    I make fresh soups year-round. Along with some type of homemade bread or rolls. I will definitely try this one!

  • Reply
    SavoringTime in the Kitchen
    January 18, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    I have some barley in the pantry just waiting for this soup! Mmmm, rolls and soup again :)

  • Reply
    Magnolia Verandah
    January 17, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Bookmarking this for when the weather cools – not really appropriate with ice cream!

  • Reply
    Joy Bee
    January 17, 2013 at 4:30 am

    I used to love canned beef and barley soup too. This sounds amazing, I’m definitely gonna make this as soon as we have a chilly day. Can’t wait to see the bun/roll recipe they look delicious.

  • Reply
    January 17, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Soup like this always tastes to me like good old-fashioned home cooking. The kind that makes you sigh with happiness.

  • Reply
    January 17, 2013 at 11:51 am

    did your husband enjoy his soup out of a flowery mug as well? :)
    this is the perfect cold-weather soup, sue. i love me some barley.

  • Reply
    The Café Sucré Farine
    January 17, 2013 at 2:59 am

    Oh my, this looks perfect, just perfect, like it would cure just about anything that ails you! We’ve got snow headed our way, this would be so yummy on a cold night!

  • Reply
    Debby Foodiewife
    January 17, 2013 at 4:48 am

    Next to cream of mushroom soup, this is one of my favorite soups of all time I just love barley. So, now I have to make a pot, this weekend. Beautiful!

  • Reply
    January 17, 2013 at 2:02 am

    Great looking soup… but, your cups steal the show for me! An old or new find?

  • Reply
    belleau kitchen
    January 16, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    beef and barley… perfection in a cup!… perfect for your ‘chilly’ days eh? can we have a recipe for those bread rolls please, they look stunning!

  • Reply
    From Beyond My Kitchen Window
    January 16, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    I can’t get enough of soup recipes when it’s winter time. I haven’t had beef barley soup in so long. What a yummy recipe. My husband would love the chunks of steak!

  • Reply
    Patricia Reitz
    January 16, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    Yummo – it’s been cold and raining here for days so soup is always welcome when we want to fight off a chill.

  • Reply
    Tricia @ saving room for dessert
    January 16, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    You are such a tease! The soup looks very rich indeed. I can almost smell it by just looking at your lovely photos. Yes I will be back to see about those beautiful dinner rolls – boy they look good!

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