Tag Archives: barley

Vegetable Barley Soup (with Chicken)

Vegetable Barley Soup

It’s Friday once again!  Where does the time go?  I was concerned that this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe would fall inappropriately on a warm Spring day, but luckily (for the soup, anyway) our weather cooled off quite a bit this week.

We made a simple soup called Vegetable Barley Soup with the Taste of Little India.  The “taste of Little India” comes from the spices: ginger, turmeric, and garam masala.  The rest of the ingredients are very basic: onion, carrots, parsnips, garlic, barley, and chicken broth.  After Trevor (of Sis Boom Blog!) mentioned on Facebook that he wished he had added chicken, I decided that chicken was something we needed.  I simmered two small boneless, skinless chicken breasts with the rest of the soup and chopped them up when they were cooked.

Veggie-Barley Soup with Chicken

We enjoyed this hearty, yet light, soup.  I was happy with my choice to add the chicken.  Next time I would use a little less ginger; I felt the flavor was a bit too strong.  I was looking forward to seeing if the flavors mellowed a bit after an overnight rest in the fridge, but unfortunately I accidentally left the pot of soup out on the stove overnight.  Quite frustrating, as I hate to waste that much food!

This would be a great recipe to use when you need to “clean out the fridge”.  Many vegetables and meats would work well with the barley and spices.

I will be out of town next week visiting my family in Seattle for Spring Break, so I won’t be making next week’s recipe, and I might not be able to comment on other soup posts.  However I did make a catch-up recipe this week that I will be sharing with you next Friday!




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Lemon Barley Pilaf

Well, I guess they can’t all be winners.  I had some problems with this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Lemon Barley Pilaf.

The idea of this recipe sounded good to me.  It’s basically a rice pilaf made with barley.  It is cooked with chopped carrot and red bell pepper, and finished with green onions and lemon zest.

The first problem came when I was ready to finish.  The barley and vegetables had cooked and rested.  It was time to stir in the green onions and lemon zest, but there was still a lot of liquid in the pan.  The barley may or may not have been cooked enough (it was close, either way).  After stirring in the final ingredients I decided to boil off some of the liquid.  It helped a bit.

The next problem came when I served this to my family.  My husband thought it was bland and didn’t care for it much.  My daughter took a tiny taste and didn’t touch it again.  I actually liked the flavors, but felt the cooking method needed some tweaking.  However, since my family didn’t like it I won’t bother trying this again.  Too bad, because like I said, I liked the idea of this recipe.

I am curious to see how the other Doristas fared with this one.  Did I make a mistake, or are there real problems with this recipe?


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Beef-Barley Slow Cooker Soup


I’m a recipe cook:  I choose a recipe and follow it mostly to the letter.  I rarely venture out without a recipe.  There are a number of reasons why I stick to recipes.  First, and probably most significantly, my Mom is also a recipe cook so that is how I learned to cook.  I also think cooking from a recipe satisfies my engineering personality.  I like all those precise measurements.  Lastly, with so many good recipes out there, why not use them!

Every once in a while I get inspired to try something “freestyle”.  Usually something triggers my inspiration: a leftover ingredient, a bunch of veggies that need to get used up, or an idea that just sort of pops into my head.

My most successful freestyle adventures are soups made in my slow cooker.  This time, my inspiration was a package of grass-fed beef crosscut shanks in the freezer.  I also had some celery in the refrigerator that needed a use.  I pondered my soup for a week or so before I made it, thinking about what ingredients I should use and the techniques.

This soup was my most successful freestyle to date!  I am very glad I wrote it all down because I will certainly want to make it again some day.  The barley was a great addition – I really like the texture it provides.  My daughter ate with gusto, even using her bread to scoop the soup into her mouth.

Beef-Barley Soup

Click here to print.

  • 1¼ to 1½ lbs. beef crosscut shank (see note)
  • 1¼ cup chopped onion (one medium or ½ large)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (about 2 stalks)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 14.5 oz. can chopped tomatoes
  • bay leaf
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • ½ cup pearl barley
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups water

Preheat oven to 375°.  Place crosscut shanks on a roasting pan and roast for 40 minutes, turning once after 2o minutes.

Warm olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Saute onions and celery until just tender, about 5 minutes.  Scrape into a 4 to 6 quart slow cooker.  Add carrots, tomatoes with their juices, bay leaf, garlic, parsley, thyme and barley to the slow cooker.  Place the meat on top of the vegetables, scraping in any accumulated juices and browned bits.  Pour in the beef broth and water.  Cook on low heat until the meat is tender and falling off the bone, 7 to 9 hours.

When the meat is tender, remove it and the bones from the slow cooker.  Allow to cool slightly, then remove the meat from the bones and  chop into bite-sized pieces.  Make sure to get the marrow from the bones!

Remove the bay leaf and parsley sprigs from the soup.  Remove the garlic cloves if desired (or leave them in as a nice surprise for a garlic-lover in your family!).  Return the meat to the slow cooker.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Note:  A pound of beef stew meat can be used in place of the crosscut shank.  Instead of roasting the meat, brown it in a little olive oil in a skillet before adding it to the slow cooker.

Serves 4 – 6

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