Beef and pearl barley soup

Today I screwed up big time. Scotland basked in glorious sunshine today, and I, the numpty that I am, went to work wearing wooly tights and a cardigan. Bad idea! If that wasn’t enough, guess what I had for dinner? Soup! Hearty, winter soup teaming with chunky veg and melt in the mouth beef. My internal temperature gauge is all messed up.

So by all means, bookmark this recipe but file it away for a chilly day. It’s a darn good soup, just not for this time of the year. o(|:-)  <—-Thats me with a winter hat on!


1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

375g stewing beef, diced into small chunks

1 tbsp marmite

1 tbsp worcestershire sauce

2 large onions, roughly chopped

2 carrots, chopped

3 sticks of celery, chopped

1 bay leaf

1 tsp dried rosemary

1 tbsp flour

salt, to season

pepper, to season

2 litres beef stock

150g pearl barley


Heat the butter and oil in a large pot over a medium heat. Brown the meat, then stir in the marmite and worcestershire sauce. Keep stirring until the meat is fully browed and most of the liquid has evaporated. Throw in the carrot, onion, celery, rosemary and bay leaf. Place a lid on the pot, turn down to a low heat and leave until the veg has started to soften slightly, which should take around 10 minutes.

Stir in the flour, mix well making sure everything is coated, then pour in the stock. Season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer, add the pearl barley and cook gently for about an hour. Remove the bay leaf before serving.

This soup is really thick (almost stew like in consistency) so you can thin it down with a little bit of water if you prefer. It also freezes really well.

Serves 4


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