Even though the health benefits of beef barley soup containing onions, carrots and celery are well known, there can be even more nutrition in those little grains of barley then one would expect. Unless the beef barley soup is organic, it does not contain the same ingredients as your grandmother used nor is it made with the same care and concern for your health.

Despite all of the culinary and nutritional accolades, every brand of beef barley soup we tried have made both of us ill. It didn’t matter whether we ordered the soup in a truck stop or a high end restaurant or deli. The ingredients in the commercial recipes, including genetically modified vegetables, factory farmed meats and addictive synthetic chemicals, caused gouty arthritis symptoms, digestive disorders and/or our ankles to swell within an hour.

Barley contains gluten that makes it an unsuitable grain for consumption by those with celiac disease and other digestive diseases such as Crohn’s, IBD and IBS. As a result, we put all barley food products, particularly beef barley soup, on our “no” list of foods (defined in our book, Mannie’s Diet and Enzyme Formula) to avoid because they made us sick.

After years of frustration, we decided to try an organic version at home. After all, what did we have to lose? Well, after a full week of feasting on the organic version of the soup, neither one of us became ill. The proof is always in the pudding. The synthetic chemicals, genetically engineered barley, high salt and who knows what else in the non-organic soups were the cause of our discomfort and illness.

Our companion blog, “Why Including Organic Barley in Your Diet Lowers Your LDL Cholesterol, Reduces Glucose Problems for Diabetics, Reduces Heart Disease, Improves Digestion, Ulcerative Colitis and the Overall Health of All Humans”, provides everything you wanted to know about barley, but were afraid to ask.

Barley has no cholesterol and is low in fat. It contains eight essential amino acids. It also contains antioxidant capability that provides additional protection. Barley is rich in fiber content, protein, carbohydrates and B vitamins. It has a higher beta-glucan content than oats.

Pearl barley is the one most frequently found in the grocery stores in the U.S. The dehulled or pearl barley may be found in other processed barley products such flour, flakes similar to oatmeal, and grits. Organic hulled barley can be purchased at health food stores or on the Internet. Arrow Mills organic pearl barley, available at Whole Foods, can be used to make a great beef barley soup.

We also save the beef juice drippings while cooking other organic meats prior to making this soup. The drippings in the pan are put into a cup for one hour in the refrigerator each time and the grease is removed by skimming it off the top. We then store the juice in a storage bag in the freezer for use in our soups. This makes for outstanding flavor in the soup.

Ashley’s Recipe for Beef Barley Soup in a Crock Pot

2 Quart-size containers of organic low-sodium or no-sodium beef broth
¼ cup of organic beef juice (grease-extracted), preferably left-over from cooking a roast or prime rib
1½ pounds of organic stew beef
1 to 1½ pounds organic beef shank
2 cups of organic baby carrots
3 stalks of organic celery
1 medium-size organic onion
4 cloves of organic garlic
Organic Frontier White Pepper
Organic Black Pepper
Organic Ginger Powder
Organic Brittany Sea Salt with Kelp
Organic Butter
Organic Garlic Oil
Organic soy sauce (optional)
1½ cups Arrow Mills organic pearl barley
7 organic baby Yukon potatoes with skin
1 8 oz box of organic white mushrooms (or mix various organic types as desired)

Instructions: Prepare the meat the night before. Rinse off the beef shank and stew beef to avoid any accumulated bacteria. Place the meat evenly on a platter. Sprinkle white pepper lightly on each side.

Sprinkle meat lightly with ginger powder on one side. If your preference is to grate your own fresh organic ginger, use about ¼ to ½ of a piece. Our preference is the organic powder which provides greater control over the taste. Place in a glass container and refrigerate contents overnight.

The next morning, rinse and srub the vegetables well. Place 2 cups of organic baby carrots into the food processor and puree. Remove and place mushed carrots into separate small bowl. In fact, place each ingredient into its own small bowl and do not mix until recipe calls for it. Cut up 3 celery stalks and puree. Cut up 1 medium white onion and puree. Chop 4 garlic cloves into small pieces. Scrub 7 to 8 baby yellow Yukon potatoes, leaving the skin on, and use a fork to poke small holes all around each potato. Set aside all ingredients.

Cut the beef stew meat into 3-inch chunks. Leave the beef shank uncut, with the whole meat still on it.

Heat a frying pan while adding one ounce of organic butter and lightly sprinkling the pan with garlic oil and melt together. Put the cut garlic cloves into the pan. Lightly brown the meat mixing it with the garlic. Once the skillet is hot, turn the temperature down to medium to avoid overcooking or charring the meat.

Some may prefer to add a sprinkle of organic soy sauce. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side. Combine the pureed onion, celery and carrot mixture into the skillet. Toss meat for 1 to 2 minutes. Place mixture into your slow cooker. Add all the baby yellow Yukon potatoes. Add 1-quart box of organic low-sodium or no- sodium beef broth. Turn slow cooker on high for one hour. We suggest using a timer as most slow cookers run on different time settings instead of old fashioned timers.

After one hour, check the potatoes by sticking a fine fork in them. The potatoes are ready when they become soft. When the potatoes are cooked, remove them from the solution and place in a glass dish. Set them aside to cool. Reduce heat in slow cooker to “slow cooking” for 4 to 6 hours. Occasionally stir the broth. If you can’t be home to watch it, it’s okay to leave it to its own devices, which is the beauty of slow cooking. Always be careful to open the lid away from you when checking it or working with it to prevent burning yourself from the steam.

While the soup is slow cooking, scrub and cut up the mushrooms. The white mushrooms are best cut into fourths long ways. Heat the same unwashed frying pan with 1 ounce of organic butter and saute the white mushrooms for 2 to 3 minutes. Toss a pinch or two of salt and pepper on top. Adding a little soy sauce is optional. Cover the pan and set aside.

After 5 hours (total) of cooking, check the meat in the slow cooker. When you can stick a fork through the meat, it is ready for the next step. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set it aside to cool. Add 1½ cups of organic pearled barley into the cooking broth. Slowly add the second 1-quart box of beef broth.

Mix the beef drippings or the ¼ cup organic de-greased beef juice left over from previous cooking. If you have more, add all of it. Turn the slow cooker up to high for one hour. Use a timer and carry it with you to whatever room you go to in your home while the soup is cooking. Make certain that you are in earshot when the timer buzzer goes off. Don’t trust the slow cooker.

Once the beef is cooled, chop into small pieces. Be sure to include the bone marrow into the mix. For first-time cooks, bone marrow is the soft spot in the middle of the bone which should be like mush. Essentially, it is concentrated beef stock.

If desired, season the beef evenly by using a small portion of organic Brittany mineral salt and grind a light amount of organic pepper on the beef. After 1 hour of cooking the barley, add the beef back into the mix and stir. Cook for another 30 minutes. Turn off the cooker and leave the soup alone for another hour. It is ready to serve. If you want it spicier or to have a “bite”, then add a touch more organic white pepper until you reach your desired taste.

When serving, some like to add potatoes and others like to add mushrooms. This also gives an option to vary your barley soup even when eating leftovers. Sometimes we are in the mood for mushrooms and sometime not. Garlic toast also adds a tasty option. Our recipe for garlic bread and cheese garlic bread can be found in our upcoming cookbook, Mannie & Ashley’s Organic Cookbook.

Beef barley soup can be served as an entre or in a large bowl as a complete meal. Besides being delicious, it is filling.” We have found that a large pot of beef barley soup can last in your refrigerator for more than one week without spoiling. Our guests rave about it and so will yours.

By comparison, Campbell's Beef Barley Soup contains approximately 20 ingredients including "beef stock, water, toasted barley, carrots, tomatoes, seasoned beef (contains up to 10% of a solution of water, salt sodium phosphate), tomato puree (water, tomato paste), peas, celery." According to its label, the soup "contains less than 2% of beef, modified food starch, salt, yeast extract, caramel color, hydrolized soy protein, hydrolized yeast protein, beef fat, flavoring, hydrolyzed wheat gluten, dextrose." Less than 2% beef? What's that about? How can you call a soup beef barley when it contains less than 2% beef?

Many of the ingredients, such as the soy and wheat products, come from genetically modified plants. Others such as tomato paste, modified food starch, salt, yeast extract, caramel color, hydrolized soy protein, hydrolized yeast protein, beef fat, flavoring, hydrolyzed wheat gluten, dextrose are ingredients containing hidden MSG.

When you add up all of the ingredients with hidden MSG in Campbell’s “clean labels”, there is no way of really knowing just how MSG much there really is. For that matter, the 890 mg of salt per serving (2.5 servings or 2,225 mg per can) listed on the label seems unrealistically low. Who eats portions that small? It’s unrealistic.

For people who are gluten intolerant, the inclusion of hydrolyzed wheat gluten (which contains MSG) makes this soup dangerous.

Author's Bio: 

Mannie Barling and Ashley F. Brooks, R.N., are the authors of award winning books –Arthritis, Inflammation, Gout, Crohn’s, IBD and IBS – How to Eliminate Pain and Extend your Life (Books and Authors 2010 Best Books in the Health, Diet & Reference Categories) and Mannie’s Diet and Enzyme Formula – A Change of Lifestyle Diet Designed for Everyone (Blogger News Net 2010 Best Health And Nutrition Book Award winner) available at HowToEliminatePain.com, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other booksellers around the world.

The authors’ latest book, It’s Not Your Fault – Weight Gain, Obesity and Food Addiction is now available at HowtoEliminatePain.com, Amazon and booksellers everywhere.

Mannie Barling and Ashley F. Brooks are the co-hosts of Surviving the 21st Century with Simon Barrett on Blogger News Network on Saturdays at 10:00 A.M. PST/1:00 PM EST found at http://www.bloggernews.net or Blog Talk Radio.