The colder the weather gets, the more I crave soup—and I have been craving soup a lot lately. It’s the rare week that I don’t make a big pot of one soup or another, and that’s year round. Now that we’re experiencing really frigid temperatures, it’s not unusual for me to make soup a couple of times a week.
One of my favorites is beef barley soup. Many years ago, I played around with ingredients until I came up with a version that everyone in the family liked. Much as I like tomatoes and tomato-based broths, my recipe is tomato-free. It’s just a simple, basic beef barley soup with celery and carrots; but it is wonderfully savory and oh so good.
If you live in the Chicago area and have a Caputo’s nearby, I highly recommend that you watch for their beef tenderloin sale. They sell a whole beef tenderloin in a bag at a sale price of $6.99 a pound which is a terrific price for this cut. Beef tenderloin when cut for steaks, as I’m sure most of you know, is filet mignon. Now their beef tenderloin is not what I would call a restaurant cut—but it is out of this world for beef soup or beef stew. It comes out so melt-in-your mouth tender that I am spoiled. I won’t use any other cut of beef now for my soups and stews.
Consider yourself warned—if you make this soup with beef tenderloin, be prepared to say good-bye to those less expensive stew beefs!
Beef Barley Soup
- 3/4 lb. beef tenderloin (or your favorite cut of beef), cut into small bite-sized pieces
- 1 tbl. butter (more if needed)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 8 cups water
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 1 carrot, diced
- 2 beef bouillon cubes
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup barley
- Ground pepper to taste
Melt butter in large saucepan and sauté beef, followed by onion. Sprinkle with garlic powder and mix in. Add water and bring to a boil. While the soup is coming to a boil, add the celery, carrot, bouillon cubes and salt. After it comes to a boil, lower it to simmer. When the vegetables are tender, add the barley. You may have to turn up the heat a bit to keep the soup bubbling in order to cook the barley. When the barley is tender, add ground pepper to taste and serve.