Beef-Barley Soup: nothing better!

OK, so it finally feels like winter and we are freezing! This is the best time of the year to sit in front of a fire with big bowls of hot soup, crusty ciabatta breads and enjoy talking with your family. Soups are inexpensive, so easy to make and there are so many to choose from. Doubling this week’s recipe and freezing for another meal is perfect for the busy weeks ahead.

Putting up a big pot is a great thing to do on a cold day when you are staying home. Most of them freeze well so make sure you have enough containers to fill and freeze for a later date.

One of our favorites is Beef Barley. It is a recipe from our grandmother and our grandfather's favorite. We talk about him a lot so if you follow us you know that we are talking about Papa Tony, the butcher. He loved bringing home freshly cut beef on his lunch break for Nana to make a big pot of soup that would be ready for him when he came back home for dinner. Omg, they were so cute. We miss them so much.

Best Beef-Barley Soup

1-1/2 pounds stir-fry beef cubes

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large onion, chopped

4 carrots, half-inch dice

3 stalks celery, half-inch dice

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 or 2 sprigs fresh thyme

parsley, for garnish

1 14-oz. can crushed tomatoes

2 large cartons (32 oz.) beef broth

1 cup pearled barley, cooked according to package directions


Cook beef over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally and adding salt and pepper to taste, for 10 minutes until browned all over. Remove the beef with a slotted spoon and reserve.

Add the carrots, onion, celery, and garlic to the the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, until the vegetables start to brown. Tie the thyme sprigs together with kitchen string and add to the pot. Return the beef and add the broth and canned tomatoes and check seasonings. Raise the heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Remove the thyme bundle and throw away.

Stir in the prepared barley. Garnish with parsley.

Judy’s Healthy Twist on Beef Barley Soup

Here are a few changes I made to Joy’s traditional recipe. I used all organic veggies, grass-fed beef and fresh tomatoes. I chose organic beef broth in the carton and tried Emeril’s. I loved it! I also threw in a bunch of organic kale for added goodness!

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