Nourishing Barley Soup with Homemade Stock

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Do you remember a while ago when I posted my recipe for Homemade Lamb or Beef Stock? It was way back at the end of last September when nights had just started getting chilly around here. I thought I had used the last of that beautiful stock in a stew last month, but I just found a quart of it tucked away in my freezer. (Yup, stock lasts that long in the freezer. A sure-fire way to tell if it’s still good is to let it thaw and then smell it before using – you will know if it smells “off”; as a general rule, it should last about 6 months in the freezer.)

I decided to get as much use out of the stock as I could by turning it into something even more nutritious. I added a couple basic vegetables – carrot, leek, and garlic – but you could substitute onion for the leek if that’s what you have on hand. (And if you have a couple stalks of celery, you could chop them up and add them as well.) We recently had a lamb roast and I had extra meat on hand, so into the pot it went. (This soup is hearty even without meat though, so this is totally optional.)

Barley was the last ingredient, and I added it not only because it’s delicious and I had it on hand, but also because it’s extremely nourishing. And with this crazy hot/cold weather we’ve been having (temps in the 50’s one day, and in the low teens the next), people are dropping like flies with head colds, throat infections, and stomach bugs, and I’m doing what I can to fight it.

There are a huge number of health benefits related to barley consumption; to name just a few: lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar; preventing cancer; maintaining good bowel function; losing weight; and treating coughs, colds, and throat infections. To read more about barley’s benefits, check out WebMD, The World’s Healthiest Foods, and Diet Health Club.

Soup’s on, and here’s to staving off – or at least hopefully shortening – a winter illness!


Nourishing Barley Soup with Homemade Stock
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 4 servings
  • 4 cups (1 liter) homemade beef or lamb stock (see note below)
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 leek (white part only), quartered, thinly sliced, and rinsed thoroughly
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup (35 g) pearl barley
  • 1½ cups (225 g) cooked beef or lamb, cubed or pulled (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Bring the stock to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat; add the carrot, leek, garlic, and barley and bring it back up to a boil.
  2. Cover the saucepan, turn the heat down to simmer, and cook until the vegetables and barley are tender, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the meat and cook until warm, about 3 minutes.
  4. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.
A Note on the Stock: I used a very well-seasoned homemade stock that was made with aromatics like carrot, onion, celery, leek, garlic, parsley, thyme, juniper berries, bay leaves, cloves, and cardamom. If your stock isn’t quite as well-seasoned, feel free to add any additional vegetables, herbs, or spices you like to this soup.

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  1. says

    I made a barley broth the other day, with homemade beef stock. There is literally nothing better or more comforting than a steaming bowl of homemade stock on a cold day. x

  2. says

    It must be like a treasure when you found that last piece of the beef stock in your freezer! This soup sound so hearty and warming, perfect for winter! I love that it has leek, and celery would be a good addition!

  3. Lora @cakeduchess says

    Such a beautiful soup, Faith. I needed a pot of this last weekend when the temps dropped really low here (finally). You remind me to make my own stock…it’s been too long:)

  4. says

    I want to dive into that pot and swim around! It’s so chilly this evening (snowed today) and seems like the house just doesn’t want to warm up. An endless bowl of your barley soup sounds like just the ticket to warm me up!

  5. says

    Nourishing is just the word for this. Nothing beats the richness and nutrient value of homemade stock. I love how versatile this recipe is, too, in terms of adding whatever root veggies you have on hand (though I must say, leek is calling out to me). I’m bookmarking this for when the temps drop. At the moment they’re well into 30c!

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