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My Mother's Cooking - Beef Barley Soup

Updated on November 5, 2012

Beef Barley Soup

Beef Barley Soup
Beef Barley Soup
My Mother's Cooking
My Mother's Cooking | Source
Beef Shanks
Beef Shanks
Barley in Water
Barley in Water

My Mother's Cooking

5 stars from 1 rating of Beef Barley Soup



When my mother made beef barley soup she always started with some meaty beef soup bones and cooked them until the meat fell off of the bones. Then she would remove the bones and strain the remaining liquid before adding the rest of the ingredients.


Today, I sometimes start with commercial beef broth and chunks of boneless beef if I am in a hurry, but it does not taste quite the same. This recipe begins with meaty beef shanks.


The vegetables that my mother used varied somewhat depending upon which ones were available in her garden, but they always included onions, carrots and celery if possible. Since I don’t have a garden, I have modified the recipe.


She also used regular barley. which takes some time to cook but I just add the quick cooking kind that can be added during the last 30 minutes.




Preparation Time:

30 Minutes

Cooking Time:

3 Hours



2 Lbs. of Meaty Beef Shanks

2 Onions (peeled and cut into quarters)

2 Carrots (scraped and cut into one inch chunks)

2 Stalks of Celery (trimmed and cut into two inch lengths)

2 Stalk of Parsley

1 Tablespoon of Salt

20 Whole Peppercorns

1 Bay Leaf

2 Tablespoons of Oil

Water or Stock to cover


1-28 Oz. Can of Whole Tomatoes (break each tomato into 2-4 pieces)

1 Package of Frozen Mixed Vegetables

1 Cup of Quick Cooking Barley

1 Tablespoon of Thyme

1 Teaspoon of Sugar

Salt to Taste



  1. Rinse the meat and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Trim the onions, carrots and celery
  3. Place the tomatoes in a bowl and break each whole tomato into 3-4 pieces using a spoon.


Cooking Instructions:

  1. In a large Frying Pan or Dutch oven, heat the oil and brown the beef shanks on all sides.
  2. If you are using a frying pan, transfer the meat to a large soup pot, add the carrots, onions, celery, parsley, salt and peppercorns and enough water to cover it all by an inch.
  3. Gently simmer for about two hours until the meat is ready to fall off of the bones.
  4. Remove the meat and bones to a separate plate to cool, strain the remaining ingredients and return the strained broth to the soup kettle.
  5. Add the tomatoes, mixed vegetables and seasoning to the broth and simmer for thirty minutes while the meat cools.
  6. Remove the meat from the bones, cut it into small pieces and return it to the soup.
  7. Add the barley and continue cooking for about 30 minutes. This is a good time to check for taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Serve with some good bread or rolls and you have a complete meal.


Beef Barley Soup

North Central Wisconsin where I grew up and learned how to cook from my mother

Wausau, Wisconsin:
Wausau, WI, USA

get directions

Milwaukee, Wisconsin:
Milwaukee, WI, USA

get directions


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      You're the gratsete! JMHO

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I do trust all the ideas you have introduced in your post. They are rellay convincing and can definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are too short for newbies. Could you please lengthen them a bit from next time? Thank you for the post.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Voted up and useful. This is exactly how my mother used to cook also and how I do now. There is nothing better than the flavor of starting with meat on the bone for flavoring soups. Barley is a healthful grain. I like using it. I like not only your recipe but how you set the stage in this hub. SHARING.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      9 years ago from Germany

      It sounds delicious. You make my mouth watering. Thanks for SHARING.

    • Julie DeNeen profile image

      Blurter of Indiscretions 

      9 years ago from Clinton CT

      Yummy...loved the pictures too!

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      9 years ago from Daytona Beach, Florida

      Sound absolutely delicious. Trying. Thanks for sharing. Passing this on.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      9 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this recipe. sounds great

    • Kaili Bisson profile image

      Kaili Bisson 

      9 years ago from Canada

      Adding this one to my soup recipe file...thank you for sharing!

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 

      9 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      This looks REALLY good! Will have to try it out this winter. :)


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