Beef Barley Bisque

Yield: 8 servings
Calories: 467
Rating:  This recipe has not been rated


  • 3 tbsp extra- virgin olive oil
  • 3 lbs boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 oz pancetta, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 small leek, well rinsed and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 zest of lemon
  • 1 zest of orange
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 can tomatoes with juice, crushed by hand
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • pearl barley
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup crustless small diced bread cubes from a day-old country loaf
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley


Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the oil.

When the oil is hot, brown the beef in batches on all sides, removing to a plate as the pieces are browned. (Don’t salt the meat yet, as you won’t obtain a proper sear)

When all the beef is removed, add the pancetta and cook just to render the fat, about 4 minutes.

Add the carrot, celery, leek, onion, and half the garlic.

Cover the pot and sweat the vegetables over medium heat until the onion and leek are tender, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, tie the whole sprigs of parsley, rosemary and thyme and the lemon zest, orange zest, cinnamon sticks and bay leaves into sachet in cheesecloth.

Once the vegetables are sweated, pour in the wine and raise the heat to high to reduce the wine by half.

Add the sachet, the tomatoes, stock, and allspice. Bring to a simmer and season with salt and pepper.

Return the beef to the pot, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beef is tender, but the sauce is still soupy, about 2 hours.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, cook the barley in plenty of salted water until tender but still chewy, 30 to 40 minutes.

Drain well. In a small skillet, melt the butter over low heat.

Add the bread cubes and cook, tossing until crisp and browned, 8 to 10 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining garlic and the chopped parsley.

When the meat is tender, add the cooked barley and simmer to blend the flavors, about 15 minutes. Discard the sachet.

To serve, ladle into bowls and top each serving with some of the garlic-parsley mixture and croutons.


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