SOL 9: Mom’s Soup

It’s one of those days. Chilly and wet and lazy. When I was making my meal plan mid week, I checked the weather and knew it would be a good day for soup. Which one? I make a few tasty soups that would fit the bill. Then I remembered my aunt had asked me recently for grandma’s vegetable beef barley soup.

Excuse me. Grandma’s soup?

Nope. This will always be my mom’s soup.

See. We grew up in Chicago. My dad was a city worker and to keep his job, we needed to live within city limits. At the time the schools were less than par. My parents sacrificed a lot to send us to private schools so we could get a good education. And the women at my school influenced me more than I ever could have imagined as a youngster. I wrote about it last year.

How does soup and catholic school fit together? I’m sure you are wondering.

Because of the six kids in private schools, we didn’t have a lot of expendable cash. A pound or two of meat had to stretch to feed us all. And that included three growing boys and whatever friend was staying for dinner. This soup was a great way to do that. Just a pound and a half of inexpensive beef stew meat and you could have a meal that may even stretch far enough to toss a bowl of leftovers into the fridge. It’s the miracle soup.

I just always assumed it was my mom’s soup and not my grandma’s. It shouldn’t surprise me that is was Gram’s recipe. She had 7 young mouths to feed herself. She was no stranger to stretching a buck.

This soup is so good, I’ve written about it before! Whoops. I didn’t even realize it until I went to go publish. It’s a Karyn in the Kitchen two-for-one.

Sorry, folks.

When we lived with my parents, it became a quick favorite of my husband. It could be tossed together relatively quickly with little hands-on time. The hardest part is cutting the meat into bite-sized pieces. And waiting. As with all good soups, there is a fair amount of waiting. But in the end, it’s always worth it when you dig in with a warm slice of buttered bread.

Mom’s Vegetable Beef Barley Soup


  • 1½-2 pounds beef stew meat (trimmed and cut into bite size pieces)
  • 2-32 ounce containers of beef broth
  • 2-15 ounce cans mixed vegetables (drained)
  • 1-14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes (NOT drained)
  • 3-4 ounces of Quaker Medium Pearled Barley
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • Fresh bread


    Heat oil on high in a large heavy bottom soup pot.
    Add trimmed beef and brown on all sides.
    Add 1 carton of beef broth.
    Let simmer on medium-low until beef is tender and broth is deeply flavored (about 30 minutes).
    Add ½ a carton broth and the barley.
    Stir and allow to simmer on low until thickened and barley is softened (about 35-45 minutes)
    Add broth as necessary.
    Adjust consistency (add some broth or some barley) until a stoup like consistency
    About 20 minutes before serving add drained mixed vegetables and NOT drained tomatoes.

I am writing for the 2019 March Slice of Life Challenge



  1. During your whole post, I kept thinking, “I hope she posts the recipe,” and there it was! A great surprise at the end. I just love the ties this soup has to your childhood. PS. As I was reading your writing, it felt like I was reading a book! And wanted to keep reading!


  2. Pingback: SOL 2020 21: social distancing day 7 | Karyn In The Kitchen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s