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Hearty meatball soup with pearl barley


For the meatballs

  • 300g beef mince
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried Italian herbs
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper

For the soup

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 slices bacon, rind removed and chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stick celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 tbsp pearl barley, soaked in water for 2 hours
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp dried Italian mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 700ml hot beef stock
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for serving


Start this recipe by preparing the meatballs. Mix all the ingredients together well, form into balls and fry all over in a pan with a little oil for just 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and add in the bacon and brown for 2 minutes. Add in the onion, carrots and celery and cook for 2 minutes before adding in the soaked pearl barley, herbs and spices, tinned tomatoes and beef stock. Season well with salt and pepper, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and place on a lid. Cook the soup for 30 minutes before adding the browned meatballs back to the pan. Continue to cook for another 10 minutes or until the pearl barley is cooked through. Serve the meatball soup into deep bowls and sprinkle with chopped parsley and grated Parmesan.

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