Polish Barley and Vegetable Soup


The cooking time listed above assumes you will use pearl barley in this recipe. If you plan to use the hull-less barley, plan for at least 30 minutes extra cooking time.


1 cup pearl barley, or hull-less barley (*see Notes below)
½ cup butter or fat, divided **
2 cups onion, diced
2 cups carrots, diced
4 cups yellow turnip, diced
2 cups leeks, diced, whites only cleaned of sand
1 cup celery, diced
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced (about 1 heavy cup)
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dry marjoram
1 tablespoon dry parsley
3 quarts stock (any combination of chicken, beef or vegetable stock)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Sour cream for garnish
Rye bread for serving


In a medium sauce pan, place the barley and cover with water (not stock). If you use stock, the salt in the stock creates a reaction that does not allow the barley to cook. You could cook it until the next ice age and it would stay tough. If you are using the hull-less variety, cover with six cups of water and simmer partially covered for 45-90 minutes depending on the texture you want, adding more water if needed. If using pearl barley, follow package instructions for the water.
Once barley is cooked, stir in half the butter and set aside.
In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy bottomed soup pot over high heat, melt half the butter or fat and add the onions, carrots, turnip, leeks, celery, mushrooms, pepper, marjoram and parsley.
Cook stirring often with a large wooden spoon for eight minutes.
Add stock and bring to a simmer and simmer until vegetables are tender, 15-20 minutes.
Taste and only add salt if needed.
Add barley with any liquid left in the pan and stir.
Serve with dollop of sour cream and slices of rye bread.


*Pearl barley is typical for this dish however I used Bob’s Red Mill Hull-less barley – found in most supermarkets. When cooked, it has a chew to it which I liked for this soup. The downside is that it takes a while to cook (45-90 minutes) where the pearl barley is cooked in 30 minutes and quick barley 10-15 minutes. With the hull-less barley, you can cook it as long as 90 minutes. At 45 minutes it is cooked but has a chew to it, the longer you cook it up to 90 minutes, the more tender and plump it becomes.
**The fat can be butter, chicken fat or beef fat or any combination. I sautéed the vegetables in some beef fat I had and used butter mixed into barley.

Keywords: Polish Barley and Vegetable Soup

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *