Beef and Barley Soup

on March 25, 2021

There is nothing like a large pot of homemade soup. Beef and barley soup is a classic for many of us, with nuances of red wine, tomatoes, fresh vegetables, and meaty porcini mushrooms. It’s the perfect soup for a crowd or an evening in front of the fireplace.

This meaty, rich soup begins with tons of beef soup bones, which add a complex beef flavor that you cannot get without the use of bones. Bone broth is deeper and more intensely flavored than regular stock. This Beef and Barley Soup also uses porcini mushroom powder for that umami goodness that compliments beef so well.

Pearl barley and fresh vegetables round out this filling soup. Just be sure to remove all bones and bay leaves before serving, and you will have the most fabulous from-scratch beef and barley soup that you have ever tasted. Save the leftovers in the fridge for up to 1 week or freeze your leftovers for a rainy day.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 pounds beef soup bones
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 large juicing carrot, sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 1 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 8 cups fresh water
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 stems rosemary, chopped
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 1 tablespoon porcini mushroom powder
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1½ cups pearl barley

Steps to Make It:

  1. In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter and add the olive oil. Allow it to heat until shimmering.
  2. Season the beef bones on both sides with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add the beef bones in batches, about 6-8 at a time, and deeply sear on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. You want a deep golden color on the soup bones for the best flavor.
  4. Remove the first batch of bones and continue searing in batches until all the bones are deeply browned. Remove from the pan and turn the heat down to medium-low.
  5. To the same pot, add the onions, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7-8 minutes or until the veggies are very soft and beginning to brown.
  6. Add the garlic to the pot and stir. Cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
  7. Deglaze the pan with the red wine. Stir with a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the beef bones. Once the red wine has been reduced for 2-3 minutes, add the tomatoes and water. Stir everything together to combine. Add the beef bones back into the soup.
  8. Bring the soup to a boil. Add the bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, tamari, and porcini mushroom powder. Reduce to a low simmer to keep the soup from getting cloudy. Put a lid over the top and allow to cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 hours or until the meat is falling off of the soup bones.
  9. Once the meat is very tender, remove the bones from the soup, keeping the meat in nice bite-sized chunks. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs.
  10. Add the pearl barley and simmer the soup for 20-30 more minutes until the barley is very tender. Check for seasoning and add more salt or pepper as needed.
  11. Serve the soup in large bowls with a nice slice of crusty bread.