Gosh, it’s cold here. And I know our 10 degrees is nothing compared to some of my friends up north, who have been fairing in the negative temperatures this week. In this kind of weather, there’s nothing that’s better than a big pot of soup bubbling away on the stove.
Soups was one of the things I found hardest to “get right” in the kitchen when I was just learning how to cook. My mom made THE BEST vegetable beef soup, and for something that seemed so simple – the hell if I could ever get it right. I finally figured out I was being too fussy with it, it really does come down to simplicity. And time. Time is key too. Unlike chicken soups, beef soups don’t take all day. With the aid of a good store-bough beef stock (I personally love the Campbell’s brand found in the condensed soup aisle) a delicious, hearty, and filling soup can be on your dinner table in just a couple hours.
We usually reserve this meal for when I’ve cooked a roast of beef – either a big fancy prime rib roast, or a more affordable cut like an eye-of-the-round. In fact, I think we all might look forward to the second meal of soup than the first meal of roast beef! Well, I do at least. I can’t speak for the 3 other carnivores in my house. Did I tell you guys we found out Baby #3 is ANOTHER BOY?! It’s a good thing I love to cook, as I’m going to have quite a few bottomless pits to feed in a few years with three growing boys in the house! Big pots of soup will be my savior, and this one is my absolute favorite!
Don’t be afraid to play around with veggie combinations either. This is just usually what I have on hand in the pantry, and in the freezer – so I go with that. But I love to add chopped cabbage if I have that hanging around, or any other veggies that are hanging out in the fridge at the time. You can’t really go wrong with anything in here. I hope it becomes a favorite in your home too!
Vegetable Beef & Barley Soup
1 large onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 cups beef broth
12 cups water
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 cups frozen corn kernels
2 cups frozen cut green beans
1 cup frozen green peas
1 cup frozen baby lima beans
5 cups leftover cooked beef roast (and bones if you have them), cut into small cubes
1 cup dried pearled barley
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
In a large stockpot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Cook until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Slowly add the beef broth, water, and tomatoes. Stir and bring to a boil.
Add the corn, green beans, peas, lima beans, cubed beef, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine, cover, and bring to a boil. When boiling, reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 1 hour – stirring occasionally.
Add barley to the soup, stir, and recover. Cook on low for an additional hour, longer is fine if time permits – stirring every now and again.
Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if desired before serving.