Hamburger Soup

This is the first post for our new Family Favourites feature. I’m hoping these will become a bit interactive, so please leave me a comment if you try this recipe! We’d love to know what you think.

Hamburger soup is delicious for fall. It was a little warm today – not that I’m rushing the season! I believe this recipe is Mom-adapted from the Best of Bridge cookbook. This one is easy and smells great simmering on the stove in the afternoon.

You’ll need: 1.5 hamburger (Mom says: or 1lb cubed roasted beef – this is a good use of leftover roast), onion, celery, carrots, pureed tomatoes, consommé, a can of tomato soup, water, barley, thyme and a bay leaf.

Start off by cooking your ground beef. I use extra lean and hardly ever have to drain it, but you might want to. As per my mom, you can use cubed beef (in which case, I implore you, call it Beef Barley Soup and not Hamburger Soup!) but I prefer the hamburger.

Chop your veggies! I missed the note about putting the carrots in toward the end, and it was fine – but adding them toward the end of cooking time would probably be better.

Put all ingredients (except those carrots, pay attention now!) in a large pot. An aside – occasionally, you send somebody else to buy groceries and something “close enough” makes it back. In this case, I had to puree my own tomatoes. Stay flexible, you know? I do not enjoy chunks of cooked tomatoes in my soup, but I do have a good blender.

A word about the barley. This is optional, unless you’re using roast beef and calling it Beef Barley Soup, of course! But I highly recommend you use it. If you’re gluten intolerant or can’t get to a grocery store, you can use rice. I believe that maybe my grandma does this kind of soup with small macaroni noodles. But I can’t resist the texture and beauty of barley. We buy pot barley as opposed to pearl barley. Pearl barley is faster and easier to cook, but with this soup that won’t matter (it simmers long enough). Pot barley will give you more fibre and nutrients; it’s the whole grain.

Everything’s in the pot now? Don’t forget the seasoning! Give it a good stir and simmer for a couple hours. Serve it all up with hot biscuits or grilled cheese.


The Mr. Says: Hearty, tasty, and filling – one of the few soups I can think of that doesn’t need much else on the side. Though biscuits are good.

(And on that note, I remember being sort of annoyed when we first met that the Mr. couldn’t consider soup to be a meal, EVER. This one has fixed it, I guess!)

The Recipe in Full

  • 1.5lb hamburger, cooked
  • 2/3c. onion, chopped fine
  • 19oz can pureed tomatoes
  • 3-4c. water
  • 1 can consommé
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped fine
  • 2-3 chopped carrots
  • 8Tbsp barley
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1 bay leaf

Combine cooked meat & all ingredients except carrots in large pot. Simmer 1-2 hours (longer is okay) – add carrots toward the end of cooking time.


  1. The leaner the hamburger, the better. But when we have roast beef, a large one that guarantees leftovers is often chosen in anticipation of this soup. The leaner, the better. Chateaubriand works particularly well…

    Perhaps we should all see recipe ratings by “the Mr.” (just to put him in a dangerous spot!)


  2. I love your new feature, Kate! I have not specifically tried your recipe (yet) but it reminded me of my younger days. It was tradition for my mom to make hamburger soup on Saturdays and we would smell it simmering as we cleaned the house – yes, Saturdays were our marathon house-cleaning days, but it never took too long as my mom was a very conscientious housekeeper. Hamburger soup = yummy!


  3. French baguette served with the soup is also lovely. I don’t use chateau briand, as it is quite seasoned. And yes, I think the barley makes the soup! I also sometimes add in a small potato for my carb hungry men.


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