Beef, Barely & Mushroom Soup
Recipe by Chef Heidi Fink
Heidi Fink

Beef, Barely & Mushroom Soup

  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Cook time 2 hours 30 mins
  • Ready in 3 hours 30 mins
  • Yield 4 litres soup

A hearty & flavourful cold-weather soup that builds its own broth in the pot. This soup serves a crowd and freezes very well.


  • Broth
  • Barley
  • Soup


Broth: Heat soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the 1 Tb oil; add at least 1 of the chuck steak or two shank pieces and brown on both sides. Add the rest of the broth ingredients (including the rest of the beef), scrape up all the goodness from the bottom of the pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and let simmer for 1-1/2 hours.

Cool everything in the pot for about 10 minutes, then remove the pieces of meat with tongs to a plate or bowl. Strain broth through a fine-mesh sieve. As soon at the meat is cool enough to handle, shred meat into small pieces, small enough to fit on a spoon, removing any bones, fat and gristle as you do so. You should end up with between 3 and 4 cups of shredded beef and 8 to 10 cups of mild broth. This step can be done the day before; keep broth and meat in the fridge until ready to use.

Barley: Meanwhile, combine barley, water and salt in a small pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 45 minutes. Set aside until ready to use. This step can be done the day before. Keep barley refrigerated until ready to use.

Soup: Once the beef and barley are cooked, the soup comes together quickly. Heat your soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the oil and diced onion and sauté several minutes, until onion is softened. Add sliced mushrooms, sliced leek, salt & pepper, and sauté until the mushrooms have given off their juice and are browning slightly in spots. Add garlic, thyme and tomato paste and sauté two minutes more, until everything is fragrant and tomato paste is a deeper colour. Adjust the heat as necessary: turn down the heat if things are browning too much, or turn up the heat if the aromatics are sweating instead of sautéing.

Add the two litres of beef broth from step 1 (add water if necessary to get a full 2 litres of liquid), the soy sauce, the shredded beef, and prepared carrot & celery. Bring to a boil, scraping any browned bits off the bottom. Reduce heat to a low simmer and simmer for 10 minutes. Add cooked barley (along with any cooking liquid left, if there is any) and simmer the soup for 10 minutes more.

Taste to adjust seasoning. The soup may need more salt & pepper, more thyme, or a handful of fresh parsley.

Serve immediately, or cool & refrigerate for 4 days or freeze up to 4 months.

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