More soup! This time it’s Beefed Up (or not) Mushroom Barley

Not very pretty, but it will taste great, trust me!

When we have leftover steak (or chicken, turkey or pork) I tend to freeze it rather than reheat for not-so-exciting leftovers. Then later on I use it for soup, stew or green chili. Today I cleaned out the freezer and found a nice piece of frozen steak. It was marinated in one of my favorite concoctions and so decided that mushroom barley soup with beef would be on tonight’s menu.

I once read that you could call yourself a gourmet cook if you can make a delicious and satisfying meal from whatever you have on hand — no trips to the grocery store. Another confession. I am now so old (and have been cooking for most of my life) that I know what tastes good together.

My typical soup/stew base of carrots, onion, celery and garlic.

But I do love creating something new from what’s available. I think Thomas Edison would have liked me. [Little known fact: he really didn’t invent anything, but he made other people’s ideas better]. And I’m starting to wonder if this blog is really about urban farming, or simply food. Food to grow, food to cook, food to eat. Am I a foodie or an urban farmer? I think they just go together naturally. Whatever you call me, here’s the recipe.

Mushroom Barley Soup

You can make this with out without the beef. Either way it is hearty, delicious and nutritious!
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: mushroom barley soup


  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil

Soup Base Ingredients

  • One chopped onion, 2-3 chopped carrots, 2 chopped celery stalks, 1-2 pressed garlic cloves

Other Ingredients

  • 1/-2 to 1 lb chopped leftover or fresh steak optional
  • 4-6 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 c pearled barley
  • parsley, bay leaf, oregano optional
  • 1/2 c sherry or red wine optional
  • 4-8 cups stock (beef or vegetable) Amount depends on how much soup you want.


  • If you are using raw beef, sauté cut up meat in olive oil. If you are using cooked beef, you can sauté it with base vegetables. When the vegetables soften, you can add the stock.
  • Add the barley and cook for 20-30 minutes, until they soften. Add mushrooms, wine, herbs and cook for another 10-15 minutes.
  • Serve with some good crusty buttered bread. Yum!

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