I posted my original recipe for this last year. Yesterday I made it again and it was still so yummy but I made a few changes to my recipe yesterday. Both are very good, my changes were solely based on what I had on hand in the house. I wanted to share these options with you all. The newer notes are in red. Many of you already understand about adapting recipes like this, but I have realized that several of my readers are not as comfortable in the kitchen and need to know that it is ok to make substitutions in recipes.

Beefy Barley & Mushroom SoupBeefy Barley & Mushroom Soup Recipe
by Robyn Wright

  • 1 lb beef (I found a top sirloin roast marked 25% off the day before at the grocery – any tougher cut of meat will work)
    (not ground beef though
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
    (or vegetable oil)
  • Coarse Kosher salt & fresh black pepper
  • 1 large white onion
    (or about 3 Tbsp on dried minced onion if you don’t have fresh onion on hand)
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 5 average garlic cloves
    (or Amore Garlic Paste or even powdered garlic if that’s what you have)
  • 1 cup red wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon)
    (I used 1/2 cup of Holland House Red Wine Vinegar recently instead of wine. The flavor was great both ways. The vinegar is a shelf stable product that I always have on hand, unlike wine)
  • 9 cups water
  • Beef Bullion of choice (I use Better Than Bullion and used 4 teaspoons in this soup – about half of what you would use for this amount of water. Follow the directions for about half as much as what your directions call for.)
    (UPDATE: I tried the new Knorr Beef Homestyle Stock this last time and I did not think it was beefy enough, so I ended up adding some Better Than Bullion towards the end anyway. I do like the Knorr Chicken Homestyle Stock in other things though)
  • 2/3 cup medium barley
  • 16 ounces of fresh white mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
    (I just used vegetable oil last time because it was on the counter already)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
    (I was out and it still tasted good)
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (I saw it in the fridge and thought I would add a bit)

Trim visible fat off meat and cut into small bite sized pieces. Add canola oil to large stock pot and add meat. Season with coarse Kosher salt and fresh pepper and brown on medium-high. Remove the meat from the pan.

Dice onion, carrots, and celery (peel both the carrots and the celery). Chop the garlic roughly. Add the vegetables to the pot the meat was cooked in (there should be some remaining oil) and sauté for about 10 minutes on medium-high. Add more freshly ground black pepper also. Don’t stir constantly, you want those brown bits to start sticking to the bottom.

With vegetables still in the pan on medium-high, add the wine. Quickly scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon once you add the wine to get the little brown bits loose (this is tons of flavor). Now add the 9 cups of water. Stir in the beef bullion. Add the cooked beef back in. Bring this all to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes uncovered. If need be, skim off any fat from top.

Now add the uncooked barley, bring to a boil again, then reduce the heat and cover. Cook for 45 minutes. The barley will absorb quite a bit of the liquid in the soup.

Wash and quarter your mushrooms. Add olive oil to a skillet and sauté mushrooms and thyme for about 5 minutes on medium heat. Add mushrooms to soup and simmer soup at least another 15 minutes.

Please let me know if you try the soup out, what changes you make, and what you and your family think!

Disclosure: I did receive a sample of the Knorr Homestyle stock at a conference. As you can tell the opinions are my own. This post is not sponsored by them at all.