Slow cooked beef and barley soup

This recipe makes a delicious hearty winter soup that’s rich in protein and fibre and is substantial enough for an evening meal.

Barley is a good source of trace minerals manganese, molybdenum and selenium. Manganese supports healthy bone structure while molybdenum plays an important role in helping the body detoxify acetaldehyde, released as a by-product of yeast, funghi and alcohol metabolism. Selenium aids cognitive function, boosts the immune system and supports fertility in both men and women.

Barley is one of the oldest consumed grains in the world. It’s high in dietary fibre, providing food for “friendly bacteria” in the large intestine and its dietary fibre is high in beta glucan which helps lower bad cholesterol and protect the body against heart disease.

Cooking the vegetables together in a single pot using low heat preserves many of their nutrients and makes a wonderfully balanced meal with a good serve of beef to add plenty of protein.

To make the barley more easily digestible by the body I like to soak it overnight (see notes under Preparation) but if you’re short on time this step may be skipped.


  • 500g/18 oz chuck steak or slow cooking beef (use a good quality, grass-feed beef)
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 100g/3.5 oz kale
  • 1 x 400g tin or 1 x 14 fluid oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 100g/3.5oz pearl barley – thoroughly rinsed
  • 500ml/1 pint bone broth or beef stock
  • 375ml water/13 fl oz water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil


If you have time, soak the barley overnight (or for up to 24 hours) with a teaspoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (if you some available). This will help neutralise the phytic acid and make the barley easier for your body to digest (for further information refer to Dr Weston Price). Once complete, drain and rinse thoroughly.


  1. Heat a heavy based saucepan to a medium-high heat then add a tablespoon of olive oil and cook the beef in batches (so as not to overcrowd the pan) until brown all over then set aside
  2. Clean and heat the pan again to a medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil and cook the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes until they start to turn translucent then add the carrot and celery and cook for another minute or two
  3. Add the beef back to the pan along with the crushed tomatoes, bone broth/stock and water and bring to a simmer then transfer to the slow cooker/crock pot
  4. Cook on low for 6 hours then add the barley and kale and cook for another 2 hours
  5. Serve sprinkled with your favourite chopped fresh herbs

Serves ~6

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