Recipe: Beef, Black Barley Soup with Lemon

Recipe: Beef, Black Barley Soup with Lemon

We want to share a recipe we love with you. It is not your typical Beef Barley soup. Instead, it has some spicy flavor and we add baby spinach and lemon, making for a lightness and aliveness we need this time of year. We love it too because it is a little more soup than some of the stew style beef & barley recipes.

The recipe is inspired by Melissa Clark's recipe on New York Times Cooking. You'll notice we've adapted it and featured our Good Food Award winning Tibetan Black Barley instead of the pearled barley. It is a great opportunity to showcase this beautiful grain.


1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp black pepper

2 Tbsp olive oil, more as needed

3 small or 2 large leeks, thinly sliced

3 celery stalks, diced

1 fennel bulb, diced

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 Tbsp tomato paste

¾ tsp ground coriander

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp sweet paprika

Large pinch cayenne, optional

4 cups beef or chicken stock

3 sage sprigs

2 rosemary sprigs

2 bay leaves

2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks

2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks

2 large turnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

¾ cups tibetan black barley

8 cups baby spinach

¼ cup chopped parsley

Finely grated zest of 1 small lemon, plus fresh lemon juice to taste

Thinly sliced jalapeños or other chiles - garnish (optional)


Step 1.

Season beef with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Let mixture stand for 30 minutes to 1 hour at room temperature.

The hulless Tibetan Black Barley takes a little longer to cook than pearled barley, so we pre-cook ours up separately. Add 3/4 cup Black Barley to 3 cups boiling water. Cover and simmer until about 1hour or until liquid is absorbed. Drain any excess water. Set aside.This will soften the Black Barley with its characteristic nutty flavor. Black barley is high in fiber and packed with vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B & E, calcium, iron and potassium.

Step 2.

In a large pot over med-high heat, add 2 tablespoons oil. Add meat in batches, turning occasionally, until seared and well browned, 4-5 minutes per batch. Use additional oil if needed. Transfer the browned meat to a bowl.

Step 3.

Add leek, celery, fennel and garlic to the pan; cook until soft, about 5 minutes, adjusting the heat if necessary to prevent burning. Push the vegetables to one side, and, if the pan looks dry, add a bit more oil. Add tomato paste and spices to the cleared side and cook until tomato paste is darkened and caramelized, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir together vegetables and tomato paste and return meat to the pot.

Step 4.

Pour in 4 cups stock and 6 cups water. Using kitchen string, tie sage, rosemary and bay leaves into a bundle and drop into pot. Bring the liquid to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, partly covered, for 1 hour.

Step 5.

Stir in the carrots, parsnips, turnips, and black barley, 1 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer until barley is cooked through and meat is tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Pull herbs from pot and discard.

Step 6.

Stir spinach and parsley into pot until wilted, 2 minutes, then stir in lemon zest and juice. If soup is too thick, thin it with a little water. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Serve with sliced chiles, if you like.

We think you'll love this twist on a wintertime classic as much as we do.

Paul Adkins

by: Paul Adkins
Marketing & Brand Coordinator

Paul grew up in Ohio. He loves a good beef with barley soup - hopefully with some good crusty bread.

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1 comment

I tried making a black barley and vegetable soup with lemon as a vegan or vegetarian option! No surprises, the soup is fantastic! I went with 1 lb red potatoes instead of the beef and vegetable broth, of course, instead of the beef broth. No other changes, it still has a super rich flavor with the spices and the melding of all the vegetable flavors. The barley is awesome! No wonder it’s winning awards!


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