Beef Barley Soup

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A few days ago I showed all of you my Prime Rib and I’m looking forward to enjoying another during the holiday season.

Many know that it’s not a cheap hunk of beef so, how does one stretch the use of such an expensive cut? Make stock with the leftover bones.

Don’t throw out the bones from that Prime Rib after dinner. You can wash/rinse the bones, throw them into a stockpot with about 10 cups of cold water and boil them down for about 2-3 hours. What you’ll end up with is a rich, flavourful beef stock which can be used for soups, stews and sauces.

If you simply want to make your own beef stock but do not have a leftover Prime Rib, then you might want to ask your butcher if they sell beef bones (most do). These scraps also have some meat attached to them and you can go straight to making a hearty beef soup when the stock is done.

I usually season the bones with some salt and pepper, preheat the oven to 425F and place them in the middle of the oven on a baking sheet for 1 1/2 – 2 hours to brown, render the fat and break down the meat. I also roast onions, carrots and celery with the beef. Now you have flavour.

When you’re done roasting the beef bones, you can once again place them in lots of cold water and boil them down for 2-3 hours.

Both methods will also produce some impurities and fat. You can invest in a fat separator or after your beef stock has cooled to room temperature, place the stock pot in the fridge (or wintery outdoors) for the stock to chill overnight. The next day you will find the fat has risen to form a hardened white “crust”, which can simply be skimmed off with a spoon and discarded.

Strain your beef stock and you can immediately use it for a stew, sauce or freeze it for later use. Today, I’m making Beef Barley Soup.

Beef Barley Soup

5-6 cups of beef stock
hand-shredded beef pieces
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 onion, roughly diced
1 carrot, diced
1 rib of celery, diced
1 large potato, diced
1/2 cup barley
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp. of tomato paste

2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 cup of blanched green beans, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Place a large pot on a burner with medium-high heat and pour in your vegetable oil, vegetables and bay leaf and saute for 5 minutes. Add your tomato paste and stir in to incorporate and cook through for another five minutes.
  2. Add your beef stock and turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil.
  3. When you have a boil, add your barley, beef pieces and some salt to taste. Cover with lid, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 90 minutes.
  4. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, add the green beans and turn off heat. Enjoy hot on a cold day with crackers, crusty bread or a sandwich.

© 2007 – 2012,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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20 Comments for “Beef Barley Soup”



I have heard others as well making stock from leftover bones. This is one of my favorite soups which I do with beef and instead of barley I use rice.



Yum Peter! I was just thinking last evening of a soup that I had not made for awhile – thank you for reminding me! I love to make my own stock also. Adding my special flavors is the best part!



What a great idea Peter! I ordered my prime rib this week thanks to you and I never even thought of using the bones. I’ll be saving these and enjoying the aroma of a simmering stock the day after Christmas!



I have been wanting to try making my own stock for a while now. It sounds simple enough. The soup looks really good.

Laurie Constantino


Does this ever look good! Barley tastes so good with a rich beef stock. Another example where being thrifty with your leftovers really pays off.



Oh my goodness does this soup look delicious! Great tip on roasting the bones before starting the stock. It sure makes the finished stock richer.



sounds delicious. that picture screams of homely goodness. i’ve never cooked with barley at home but i love its nutty flavour. will give this a go.



Prime rib has been our traditional Christmas Eve dinner for years, although here I have no idea if the meat is ‘prime’. Our choice is Charolais or ‘other’
And THIS year the dogs are not getting the bones – I adore beef barley soup…. sorry girls!

Cooking and the City


beef & barley is one of my favourite soups. yours looks extra delicious. I can almost taste it!



Your are amazing!!! This soup is killing me, looks so good
BTW I wish you a wonderful holidays full, of joy and love



this looks delicious and would be a great departure from the standard mushroom barley that i’m used to! and, it is just the right season for this hearty dish, i think the soup pot is calling out right now.

happy holidays peter!



Wow, I thought beef stock needed more meat then other stocks? Well never mind I guess I should just do it, eh? This looks great.



Hi Peter,

Made this last week with some slight modifications – added fresh thyme, had kale instead of potatoes and used both orzo and barley. Was excellent! Thanks!