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Irish Beef & Barley Broth

If you're looking for a hearty, rustic farmland fare this St Patrick's day, look no further. This meal-in-one-pot broth is full of meat and veggie goodness including the healthful and oh-so-Irish pearl barley and split green peas.

The split peas turns the soup into a thick mushy base in which is nestled the meat and delicious vegetables like leeks, carrots and turnips. Cabbage is added at the very end just until it wilts. I love adding lemon juice at the end because I think it makes great strides to balance the minerality of the turnips and is not traditional.

One challenge this soup represents is preventing it from sticking to the bottom of the pot because of the thickness of the soup base once the split peas turns mushy. So it's a good idea to start on the stove top and finish with the veggies in a slow cooker. That's also a great fix to have the broth finish overnight or while you're at work.

All you need now, is some lovely thick slices of Irish Soda Bread.

Happy St. Patrick's Day 2020!



Recipe for:

Irish Beef and Barley Soup

Shopping list / Serves 4-6

1-1/2 lb beef chuck

½ cup pearl barley

½ cup split green peas

Yellow or white onions, to yield 1-1/2 cups sliced

½ tsp baking soda - soda bicarbonate

3 carrots

1 leek

1 stalk celery

½ tsp. black peppercorns

Turnips, to yield 1 cup cubes

Cabbage, to yield 2 cups sliced

8 baby gold potatoes

2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

Parsley, chopped to yield ¼ cup

Juice of 1 lemon


Beef chuck: Cut into 3 large pieces, discarding any excess fat or sinew.

Onion: Peel, discard the skin. Halve, then quarter. Slice into 1/4" thick quarter circle slices.

As soon as the onion and meat is prepped, begin on the stove top. Prep the remaining ingredients after.

Celery: Discard leaves and slice into 1/2" pieces.

Leeks: Discard root tip. Halve and slice into 1/4" thick semi-circles. Use only the white & light green parts. Discard the thick dark green portion & leaves.

Turnip: Peel & cut into 1/2" thick slices and then chop each slice into cubes.

Carrots: Peel & cut into 1/2" thick circles. Discard the top.

Parsley: Discard the stalks. Finely chop the leaves and set aside.

Baby potatoes: Wash, cut away any 'eyes' or brown spots, peel and soak in water until ready to use.


It's a real challenge to prevent this thick soup from sticking to the bottom of the pan. See (3) for slow cooker option.

Use your best heavy bottom stock pot and add the sliced onions, pearl barley, split green peas and slab of beef chuck meat. Cover with water – ½” above the level of the meat.

Bring to boil on high heat. Spoon away the scum that collects on the top, add the baking soda and cover with a lid, leaving a small gap allowing the steam to escape. Cook on medium-low heat for approx. 1 hour or until the beef is tender.

Cook's tip: To help with the challenge of the soup sticking to the bottom of the pan, an option is to transfer the whole soup now into a slow cooker.

Add all the chopped vegetables including the cabbage and cook for 6-8 hours on low. Hold the lemon until the end.

Stove top method continues here -

Remove the meat and cut into small cubes. Return the meat and its juices to the pot.

Add the salt, pepper, leeks, turnip, carrots, potatoes and celery and cook for another 30 minutes on medium-low heat.

Cook’s Note: With the soup thickened since the peas are mushy, it will have a tendency to stick to the bottom. Stir regularly and add 1 cup water if the soup is too thick.

Add the cabbage and stir to combine. Cover with a lid and cook for another 10 minutes until the cabbage has wilted. Add the lemon juice and taste and adjust seasoning.

Stir in the chopped parsley and serve hot.


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