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Beef and barley soup

A classic soup to settle in on those cold winter nights. 



  • 2 oz. bacon or pancetta, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb stewing beef, cut into small cubes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 leek, white part only, washed and chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Several sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 litres (8 cups) beef, chicken or turkey stock
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced or 1 cup squash, diced
  • 1/2 cup squash, diced (optional)
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish


  1. In a large pot, over medium setting, brown bacon to render fat.  Spoon any excess off. 
  2. Add olive oil and diced beef and brown evenly on all sides, about five minutes. 
  3. Add onion, carrots, leek, and celery and stir, until golden, about three minutes. 
  4. Add tomato paste, bay leaves, thyme, and stock, and stir again.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for about one and a half hours.  Beef should be fork tender.
  5.  Add the barley and sweet potato and season with salt and pepper.  Simmer for 20 minutes. 
  6. Add the squash, if desired, and continue to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until everything is tender. 
  7. Adjust seasoning and sprinkle with parsley (optional). Enjoy!

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