Learn about this recipe from our historic foodways staff, then try it at home
Barley is a grain sometimes overlooked when rice, corn and wheat are predominant. This soup is almost a stew. Though simple in preparation, the meat and vegetables make it a dish that is filling and satisfying.
Put on three gills of barley, three quarts of water, a few onions cut up, six carrots, scraped and cut in dice, an equal quantity of turnips cut small: boil it gently two hours, then put in four or five pounds of the rack or neck of mutton, a few slices of lean ham, with pepper and salt; boil it slowly, two hours longer, and serve it up. Tomatas are an excellent addition to this soup.
— Randolph, Mary. “The Virginia Housewife”
- ¾ cup barley, rinsed
- 1½ quarts water
- 2 medium onions, peeled and diced
- 3 medium carrots, scraped and diced
- 3 medium turnips, peeled and diced
- 1 ½ pounds lamb (or beef if desired) diced
- ½ cup ham, diced
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- One 14 oz. can large diced tomatoes
- Put water into large saucepan or dutch oven and add barley and diced meat. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
- Add diced onions, carrots, and turnips and simmer for 20 minutes until carrots are tender.
- Add diced ham and tomatoes. Simmer for 20 minutes up to one hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper.