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Ham and Barley Soup

My husband is an easy man to please when it comes to food and new recipes but because his least favourite vegetable is overcooked green beans and his least favourite soup is split pea I had to find another way to use up a ham bone.
I still make my favourite Mennonite Green Bean Soup once in a while but
I don't make Split Pea soup at all.
So I was looking for another option for that leftover ham bone and came across a Ham and Barley soup in a magazine.  I've changed it up to use what I had in my fridge and came up with
 a hearty ham based soup he really likes.
It's a bit of work, making soup from scratch but it's a large recipe and you can freeze the extra for  meals at a later date.

For the Broth (make a day ahead)
  • 1 ham bone (I like to leave a good amount of meat on it for the soup)
  • 12 cups water
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 rib celery with leaves still on it
  • 1 washed, unpeeled carrot - ends trimmed
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns (in a soup ball)
  • 2 teaspoons salt (use sparingly for the broth as the ham adds salt. You can adjust the salt later after the vegetables and barley are added.)
  1. Add ham bone to water in a large soup pot.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil
  3. Reduce heat to a good simmer and cook for about 2 hours.
  4. Strain broth,  removing bone and any meat to a bowl and discarding vegetables,  
  5. Remove meat from bone, cut it up and return it to the broth and discard bone..
  6. Let broth cool a bit and then refrigerate overnight.
  7. The next day, skim fat from soup.
For the Soup
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 pod chicken stock base (or  2 cubes of chicken bouillon base)
  • 1 cup barley*
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cubed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups butternut squash cubes (peel squash, remove seeds and cube)
  • 3 or 4 ribs celery, sliced
  • 1 large can tomatoes (undrained)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons thyme or rosemary
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced and browned a bit
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen green beans (1 1/2" lengths) or 1 can cannellini beans, drained
  • salt and pepper
  1. Bring water and chicken base to a boil.
  2. Stir in barley and let cook until tender, (check package directions)
  3. Strain and set aside barley to add later.
  4. Saute carrots, onion and celery until lightly browned.
  5. Add carrot mixture and squash to broth with tomatoes and Thyme.
  6. Add to broth and ham, bring to a boil and simmer until vegetables are just tender.
  7. Add barley, mushrooms and green beans and cook just until beans are tender.
  8. Adjust seasonings and serve.
*Barley is a little like pasta in that it swells as it sits in a liquid. So I like to cook it separately and add it at the very end.  


  1. This looks delicious, Bev. I always make my soups from scratch, and yes, it can be time consuming, but it is well worth the effort. What smells better than a big pot of home made soup simmering on the stove.

  2. Sounds like the perfect way to use the huge ham bone in my fridge.....aside from the traditional green bean or split pea versions. But I'm unclear on the chicken stock. Do you discard it after boiling the barley, or add it to the ham broth?

    1. Yes, you can discard it. ti's just meant to flavour the barley.

  3. MMmmmmmmm! That looks like a great recipe, Bev.
    Barley is a good grain for soup, isn't it?
    Thank you!

  4. What a wonderful recipe! Our family would love this.

  5. Thanks. I needed a ham bone soup idea. I would definitely do the cannellini bean option - so much more protein!!

  6. Do you have a recipe for Hot Cross Buns for Easter?


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