Barley and mustard flower beef soup

Barley and mustard flower beef soup

The Herb & Flower Cookbook
Cooking time
70 mins

Warming barley stew is a winter favourite of mine, and this hearty beef version will cheer you on even the coldest of days. The mustard adds a little heat, and the kaffir lime adds a citrus tang, stopping it from feeling too stodgy. It keeps beautifully in an airtight container in the fridge, tasting even better when heated the next day, so make it in large batches and eat when you like.


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons plain flour
black pepper
500g frying steak, cubed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
100g mushrooms, chopped
3 spring onions, chopped
2 kaffir lime leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons mustard flowers, plus extra for decoration
250ml red wine
500ml beef stock
75g pearl barley


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the flour in a bowl and add some seasoning. Toss the cubes of steak in the flour to cover. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof pan with a lid over a high heat and fry the steak in batches, removing it from the pan with a slotted spoon once it’s brown on all its edges. Set the meat aside.
  2. If the pan is a little dry add some more oil and turn the heat down to medium. Throw all the vegetables, lime leaves and mustard flowers into the pan and cover with a lid. Leave them to sauté together nicely for about 10 minutes, or until soft. Return the meat to the pan, add the red wine and let the wine come to the boil, mixing all the ingredients together.
  3. Add the stock and barley, put the lid on and bring the soup to the boil. If it doesn’t look very soup like and is quite thick, add some more stock. You don’t want it to be thin, but there needs to be an element of liquor to the pan. Check the seasoning and then put the bubbling soup into the oven for 45 minutes.
  4. Serve piping hot with some crusty bread and salted butter on the side.

Substitute the mustard flower with...

  • Thyme, nasturtium or winter savory.
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