French market vegetable beef soup is a meal in itself. It’s got everything from the market in it including chunks of beef, carrots, onions, celery, tomatoes, pearled barley, corn, green beans, red wine, potatoes. Herbs de Provence, paprika and rich beef broth round out the recipe.
Inspired by a trip to the south of France, I created French market vegetable beef soup. It's hearty and delicious. I use a French herb blend called Herbs de Provence for lovely flavor. It was always a favorite recipe with my personal chef families.
Classic French Herb Blend: Herbs De Provence
A few summers ago we were in beautiful Provence for a photography workshop. One of the highlights was shooting the lavender fields. Rolling hills, oceans of lavender as far as you could see. It was amazing. Traveling through Provence we saw little clay jars and cotton bags of a dried herb blend called Herbs de Provence in every village.
It's a blend of herbs that bloom in the hillsides of Southern France in summer including thyme, rosemary, lavender, fennel, sage, marjoram and savory. It’s available here and great for roast chicken and pork, stews, roasted red potatoes, vegetables and many other recipes. It’s always in my herb and spice arsenal and it’s what I use in this soup.
Pressure Cooker Method
Once your prep work is done the soup cooks quickly because pressure cookers save time. When the lid is secured and you’ve brought it to high pressure it takes just minutes to complete. Without a pressure cooker or Instant Pot you can make it stove top and any extra freezes well.
If you don’t have a pressure cooker, cook soup in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven and simmer over low heat, covered, until the beef and vegetables are tender and the flavors are blended. It will just take longer than the pressure cooker version.
Broth note - I buy frozen beef bone broth. For extra rich broth and big beefy flavor reduce 8 cups of broth to 4 cups before starting the recipe. Skip the cans and boxes which often have high sodium and unhealthy ingredients.
Barley note - If you eat gluten-free, skip the pearled barley as it contains gluten. You could substitute a little cooked brown rice, but the soup is fine without it for a grain-free soup.
Frozen vegetables note - Adding frozen vegetables pumps up the vegetable content, texture and healthy profile of the soup. Use an organic blend which includes corn, carrots, green beans, peas.
For another French-inspired dinner try these steamed mussels in white wine, also known as Moule Marinere. For another hearty beef dish, try this vegetable beef stew with rosemary.
French Market Vegetable Beef Soup
- ¾ pound top sirloin cut into small cubes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided use
- 1 medium onion diced small
- 3 large garlic cloves chopped fine
- ½ cup dry red wine optional
- 4 cups low sodium rich beef broth try the frozen
- 2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence see note below to sub
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 bay leaf
- 1-14 ounce can petite diced tomatoes juice and all
- 2 medium carrots peeled, chopped small
- 2 celery stalks peeled, chopped small
- 2 medium red potatoes skin on, chopped medium
- ¼ cup pearled barley skip for gluten-free diet
- 8 ounces mixed frozen organic vegetables green beans, corn, peas and carrots
- ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Parmesan cheese optional
- Set a pressure cooker over medium to medium-high heat and brown meat in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the tomato paste and stir with the meat to coat and caramelize a bit. Set meat aside.
- Add second tablespoon of olive oil and sauté onions until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add wine to deglaze pan and reduce wine by half. Add all remaining ingredients, water through potatoes and the browned meat as well.
- Lock lid in place and bring up to high pressure; begin timing for eight minutes. When done, bring pressure down with the quick release method, moving the pot to a sink and running cool water over it. You will hear the pressure release in about 20 seconds. Remove bay leaf and stir in frozen vegetables and parsley. Garnish with cheese and enjoy (optional).
Thought you would be happy to read that I made 26 quarts of your soup recipe and gave them to our family and friends as a Christmas gift along with a baguette and a bottle of French wine. Immediate family also received Camembert cheese! I may not be able to be with our family and friends this year, but we will share the same meal together. The recipe is fantastic. Wishing you a blessed holiday.
Sally Cameron says
Oh my gosh Gail! What an amazing thing to do and I love the goodies you included and the sentiment of eating the same meal. Great things happen around the table, we need fellowship, even if remotely. Your friends and family are very lucky! Sure made me smile, thanks for reporting back. God bless you this Christmas and into the New Year as well.
Sally Brown says
I made this recipe today for dinner. It was excellent! I have been looking for a great veggie soup recipe and thanks to you, I found it! The broth was most excellent! Many many thanks. I grew up eating veggie soup and now with your recipe, my son will too. THANK YOU! Going to check out the rest of your recipes!
I have made a real effort to make dinner 4 nights a week for my family of 5. We have been so busy, as many families are that we fell into relying on takeout or worse, cereal for dinner. I get up early and make breakfast, lunch and dinner before 8 am to allow my time running as a Mommy and working with my husband at our family business. This soup cooked while I got ready for the day, I shut it off when I left and turned it on medium when I returned home. It was delicious, and surely hit a spot that no take out can deliver. It also makes a bunch so I can have lunch for days and that makes my hubby very happy. Served with sourdough and a healthy helping of love this recipe is in heavy rotation in this house. Thanks for posting it.
Thanks for letting us know Lizz! Great story. I am so glad this recipe serves your family well. Good for you on working so hard to be a blessing to your family and feed them well. This soup freezes well too. How long were you gone during the day? The only concern I would have is how long the soups sits out on the stove, for food safety reasons. If it is more than a couple of hours and you want it done when you get home, you might put it in a slow cooker.
Tonya Holcomb says
Sally, Would you please let me know if I need to make any modifications that I would to make to cook this in a slow cooker (crock pot)? Your newbie cook, Tonya
Hi Tonya. Well that's a good question. I have never tried it in a slow cooker. I would set the slow cooker to high to brown the meat cubes with the tomato paste, then turn it down, add the onions and allow them to get tender, add the garlic and allow it to cook for a few minutes on low so it is not raw. Then add everything else and turn the cooker to medium or low. Not sure, as it may depend on our model. Then cover and slow cook until the vegetables are tender and the meat is just pink inside. On the wine, as it will not have high heat to cook off the alcohol you may want to skip it or be sure that the cooker is hot enough for the wine to boil down a bit. When you add the veggies at the end, I would add them thawed then allow soup to cook a bit longer so they heat up and the flavors incorporate. If you do this, please report back. Next time I make it I will do a slow cooker version and post additional directions, or even a new modified recipe. Thanks for your question!
Tonya Holcomb says
Sally, since I do not have a pressure cooker, I was thinking about browning the meat and the steps all the way down to the wine in a cast iron skillet. Then, place the meat & remaining ingredients in the slow cooker to allow everything to incorporate. Thank for your feedback!
That should work fine Tanya!
Hi the Vegetable beef barley soup sounds yummy, I'm looking forward to trying it. However, we do not eat red meet, is there something else you would recommend. I will try the BTB beef stock, or can I use the Vegetable instead
Hi Rose. I would try leaving out the beef and using either chicken stock or vegetable stock versus water. Homemade would be best. Without the beef you could probably skip pressure cooking and just simmer until all of the vegetables are tender. The BTB does give the beef version deeper, richer flavor. Looking at the label of BTB, the organic bases (I looked at the chicken) look pretty good in terms of food additives if you want to go with water and use the BTB. Watch the sodium levels. If you want to skip the BTB and still aim for a rich flavor, you could use reduced broth which would have a more intense flavor, or go with regular broth for a lighter soup. This is something I have wanted to play with myself. Please report back what you did. I'll have to play with my recipe to and make notes. Thanks!
So I followed your recipe without meat. Bumping up the barley, diced tomatoes, carrots and celery. I used Veggie Stock and a small tsp of the BTB. It taste great. Thank You. I love your recipes and web site.
Thanks for reporting back Rose! I've wanted to do exactly that and bet it was good. I make it with beef because my family likes it that way. A I am not a beef eater, I have wanted to do a no-beef version.
J. Johns says
Hi Chef Sally...
I became interested in preparing more Gallic dishes ever since finding out about my own French blood. I tried out your French Market Vegetable Beef Soup Provencal. It is a real blue ribbon recipe! I enjoyed this tremendously, and I even made some for my friend for her birthday. She asked me if I'd taken gourmet classes! Thank you very much for this wonderful soup.
Eileen Sherman says
Fabulous Blog site and the photos are incredible. I love the photo of the Vegetable, Beef and Barley soup ingredients. That is a soup I will definitely make for my own clients and also have my home chef students make as well. Do you spend time making beef stock from scratch, or do you find that the Better than Bouillon is just as flavorful? Thanks for this blog. It is fantastic. I could use some education and practice taking creatively correct food photos!!!
Chef Sally says
Hi Eileen! Thanks for the nice comments. It is a fantastic soup. The BTB gives a very rich, deep flavor. If you can get the new low sodium version that's good too (less salt). I don't usually make homemade stock/broth for this. If you prefer to use stock/broth versus BTB I'd double the amount of liquid - 4 1/2 cups to 9 cups - then reduce it to half to intensify the flavors. I do that when I make beef short ribs in the pressure cooker and it works great for big flavor. The best brand I have found it called "Stock Options". It comes frozen and is just like homemade. Please comment back and let everyone know how it came out!
Shurla McManus says
Perfect dessert for Valentine's Day,it looks scrumptious.