I am writing this blog on Wednesday morning.  It is 22 degrees outside, very windy and I just walked the dogs.  My mind wanders as I am walking.  What am I thinking about?  SOUP, of course.  Nothing is better on a frigid day than hot soup-in my mind at least.  This soup is easy, hearty and freezes beautifully, since there are no potatoes (barley as the starch instead), so make a triple-batch.
Many people think making soup is a matter of just throwing everything into the pot-this is especially true with crock pot cooking-but good soup takes a bit of time.  By cooking in stages, you are layering flavors to add depth to the soup.  Try it.  Trust me, your soup will be the better for it.  Add a salad and warm loaf of bread for a quick, healthy work night meal.
Chef Brenda’s Beef Barley Soup
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 pound beef stew meat
  • 1 pound meaty beef bones (such as beef shank bones)
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup pearl barley
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 14 1/2-ounce cans beef broth
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen corn kernels
  • 2 small bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 11/2 cups frozen peas
  • 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add stew meat and bones; sauté until beef is dark brown, about 8 minutes.
  3. Transfer beef and bones to plate.
  4. Add celery, onion, and barley to pot. Sauté until onion is golden, about 15 minutes.
  5. Add 4 cups water, beef broth, tomatoes with juices, corn, bay leaves, and garlic powder. Return beef and bones to pot and bring to boil.
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until beef is almost tender, about 1 hour.
  7. Add peas and 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce to soup.
  8. Cover and simmer until beef is tender, about 30 minutes longer.
  9. Season the soup to taste with salt, pepper, and more hot pepper sauce, if desired.

With soup like this you will welcome cold weather!