Beef & Barley Soup–if you don’t count chowder–is quite possibly the quintessential New England soup.
But nowadays finding a good version can be difficult to find, except maybe in a can. And even the best canned soups are still too salty and tinny for regular consumption.
So, I set about making a healthy and easy Beef & Barley that would rival the ease of warming up a canned version and I think I’ve done it. Of course, I used my trusty Dutch Oven, but I also used my Instant Pot to make ready the beef.
I started with a small piece of meat that was intended as a small roast. I got it on sale for less than $4 and it weighed just under two pounds. Because I froze it when I bought it, I first defrosted it and then cooked it with a small amount of beef broth and some salt and pepper in the Instant Pot on the beef setting. Couldn’t be easier, but note that you could use a portion of roast beef leftovers if you have that.
Once the beef was cooked and had rested, I chopped it up in small pieces and tossed it into the Dutch Oven along with some tomato sauce, a box of beef broth and the drippings from the Instant Pot. I added a can of peas and carrots, but you could use fresh or frozen. It’s up to you, of course.
The Barley was cooked separately from a dried bag of the grain. If you’re wondering where you find dried Barley, check the dried beans section of your grocery store. Once cooked, add the Barley to the soup toward the end of the cooking to keep it from getting too soggy.
Small oyster crackers are the only thing you need to complete this wonderful, homey meal, which is perfect for a cold late Autumn supper.
One small points:
This soup is exceptionally economical. I figured the entire recipe cost me under ten dollars for ten servings!
- Small cut of roast beef, prepared either in an oven or Instant Pot, about 1 1/2 pounds
- Box of beef broth
- Small can of tomato sauce
- Can of diced carrots and peas
- About two cups of water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Barley, 1 cup, dried and cooked separately with 2 1/2 cups water and salt to taste
- Cook beef in Instant Pot with a small amount of beef broth and allow to rest OR use precooked cut of roast beef
- Slice and then dice the cooked beef and place in Dutch Oven with any pan drippings from the cooking of the beef
- Add tomato sauce, beef broth and water to the Dutch Oven and bring contents to boil on the stovetop
- Reduce heat to allow the soup to slowly boil off some of the added water and thicken, about 1 hour
- Meanwhile in a separate pan, bring the dried Barley to boil with 2 1/2 cups water and salt to taste; cook for 45 minutes
- After cooking off some of the liquid, add the can of peas and carrots and the Barley
- Allow soup to simmer for an hour or more so that all the flavors meld together
- Serve with small oyster crackers