fennel beef and barley soup

Beef & Barley Soup with Fennel


fennel beef and barley soup

Beef & Barley Soup with Fennel

An old, if ugly, favorite jazzed up with the addition of both fresh fennel and fennel seeds. 


  • 2 lb cubed sirloin
  • 3 stalks celery diced greens too!
  • 2 bulbs fennel sliced
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 big carrot sliced I actually used 4 tiny heirloom carrots
  • 4 cloves garlic sliced
  • 1- quart beef stock
  • 1 1/4 cup pearl barley
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • Place all ingredients in a 4- (it will be very, very full!) or better yet a 6-quart slow cooker. Add the spices, barley, and stock. Stir. Cook on low for 8-10 hrs. Add additional warmed stock to thin out the soup if desired.

Why do I add so much fennel to my soups? Is this normal? I was looking back at my other fennel recipes over the last 17 years and a good chunk (at least six) of them are soups. I do think fennel is very good in soup. Obviously! The long cooking time mellows it and can tenderize it if you get the odd woody bulb. I think another part of it is that when I see fennel for a good price I buy it and then I have to figure out what to do with it and soup is pretty low effort.

Normally I like my beef and barley soup very thick and with lots of mushrooms but I thought I’d try something different. Lots of celery, lots of fennel and lots of beef. It’s very filling


This makes so much soup! We had it for two meals then then had several servings leftover to freeze.

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