beef barley vegetable soup
Recipes, Vintage Meets Modern Recipes

Vintage Style Pot Barley Soup With Beef


Who doesn’t love a good soup now and then? This vintage-style beef and barley soup will please the most decerning palettes with rich broth and beefy flavor. Simple enough to make inside of 2 hours. The soup takes time to simmer, which infuses it with the deep flavors of yesteryear. It’s a great soup that may seem too dull, but I promise the taste is excellent.

Two things inspired this recipe: my love of all the old soups my mother would make and my partner’s love of old scotch broth. If you’re thinking like I was that the scotch broth didn’t have anything in it, he insisted that it did have some ‘stuff,’ lol. After some discussion, we realized there was, in fact, an older canned version of scotch broth by Campbell’s that did have barley in it. Unfortunately, you can’t buy Campbell’s Scotch broth here anymore.

So out with the stock pot, let’s get started!

The first thing I would like to note, as stew beef prices are astronomical, is beef. Tough stew beef is used in stews because the proteins in the tissue break down and tenderize the meat. To keep my costs within budget, I have used steak instead. Choose a cheap steak because it will be a tough cut yet likely have some marbling you want. The long simmer allows the meat to become fork-tender. In addition, the marbling imparts flavor to the soup.

Okay, enough about the meat. Let’s get it cubed up into good-sized pieces. We will then lightly brown the steak cubes in oil to seal in the juices.


Peel and dice the carrots, potatoes, and turnips. Cut the celery into bite-size pieces and chop the onions. In the stockpot, add a tablespoon of oil and heat. Brown your beef before adding two boxes of beef broth, water, barley, onions, pepper, and a bay leaf (float it on top, remove it when you add other veggies, and then place it back on top).

Let this simmer for one hour before removing the bay leaf. Set it aside; it’s going back in. Add all the other diced veggies. I always know the soup is ready when the turnip is fork tender. The longer you let it simmer, the more flavor is imparted to the broth. Remove the bay leaf that is on top. Serve up a hot bowl of this beef and barley soup, and enjoy.

Note: If you are concerned you won’t be able to get that bay leaf out, put it in a spice sack made of cheesecloth, which will be easier to find. A whole bay leaf is not recommended to eat as the edges are sharp and may cause damage to the intestines.

If you have a keen eye you will notice the red potato isn’t in the ingredient photos. As we take our own photos for the blog we sometimes make an oversight here and there during photoshoots. We are by no means professional photographers. However as time progresses we do hope to improve so bare with these wee nuisances please as we move forward.

It’s time to enjoy a big bowlful! Its so comforting and satisfying to enjoy with a slice of fresh homemade bread or biscuits. If you wanted you can even make dumplings to sit on top of that broth.

We promise that this beef barley soup is going to make you nostalgic for times past.


Your Questions Answered:


Would this take the same amount of time if I did use stew beef? Yes, the beef needs time to both tenderize and infuse flavor into the soup.


Could this not be made with straight water and get flavor from beef and veg? If you use stew beef and stew with just enough water to cover then yes it would likely turn out just fine.


Can this soup be made with ham? Yes, using leftover ham in this veggie broth blend would be a good pairing. However be sure to use low sodium stock as ham is already very salty.

beef barley soup in bowl

Vintage Style Beef Barley Soup

Amber Bondar
If you're feeling nostalgic for old time soup this beef barley soup is going to hit the spot. Filled with a mixture of carrots, potato's, onion, celery, and turnip/rutabaga its flavorful and filling. The pearl barley is a nice homey touch that finishes this vintage-inspired beef soup recipe off.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Course Soup
Cuisine American, Canadian
Servings 6


  • 1 Stock Pot
  • 1 knife
  • 1 Cutting board
  • 1 Veggie Peeler
  • 1 measuring cup
  • 1 Tbsp


  • ½ Cup Pearl Barley
  • 1 Tbsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 Boxes Beef Stock
  • 1 Quart Water
  • ½ Cup Celery diced
  • ½ Cup Onion diced
  • 2 Carrots cut up into bite sized pieces
  • 2 Potatoes cute up into bite sized pieces
  • 1 Cup Turnip cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 Large Steak Cubed---or a package of stew beef
  • 1 Tbsp oil


  • Start by preparing all of the ingredients.
  • In a stock pot add a bit of oil and brown the beef.
  • Add to the pot the water, stock, onion, barley and pepper.
  • Place bay leaf on top of the soup- place in spice bag of cheesecloth if you prefer
  • Bring to a boil and let simmer for 1hr.
  • Remove the bay leaf and set aside.
  • Add the rest of your vegetables and put bay leaf back on top.
  • Let simmer for an additional hr.
  • Test turnip for doneness. Serve.
Keyword barley, dinner, Roast Beef, soup, veggie

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