What makes this the best beef barley soup recipe?

Adding a cracked marrow beef bone during the simmering process makes this cold-weather soup extra delicious. Bone marrow is also rich in nutrients; along with small amounts of protein and important vitamins like B12 and riboflavin, it also contains a good amount of collagen. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, and is thought to help promote healthy skin and reduce joint pain; it may even assist in boosting your immune system. In fact, my daughter is such a fan of this aspect of the soup that I always save her a marrow bone or two to enjoy along with it.

You can often purchase marrow bones already cracked; alternatively, if you have a friendly butcher, ask them to crack the bones for you.

Yield: Makes approximately 8 servings
Family Favorites: Beef Barley Soup

Family Favorites: Beef Barley Soup


  • One (2–3 pound) marrow bone, cracked to expose marrow
  • 2 pounds chuck beef, cubed into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 to 2½ quarts water or beef stock
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1½ teaspoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
  • ¼ cup uncooked barley
  • 1 cup finely diced carrots (about 2 medium)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onions
  • ¼ cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 cups petite diced canned tomatoes, drained or 2 cups blanched skinless tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 cup peeled and diced Yukon or red potato
  • 1 cup finely chopped green cabbage
  • Additional salt and pepper to taste


  1. Melt the butter in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. When melted, add the chuck beef cubes. Cook on medium, turning beef pieces periodically, until the beef is evenly browned.
  2. Add the cracked marrow bone to the pot followed by the water or stock, salt, sugar, pepper and parsley. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot and simmer for one hour. During the simmering process, periodically skim the soup.
  3. Add the barley and simmer for an additional hour. Add the diced carrots, onions, celery and tomatoes. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Add the peas, diced potato and cabbage and simmer for 15 to 20 additional minutes or until potatoes are cooked through. Remove the beef bones and season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
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January 22, 2021 — Mary DiSomma