I received the Buckeye Beans & Herbs brand Beefed-up Barley Soup mix as a Christmas gift. Today, I made it up. I would have to say that it’s pretty good, but I sure wouldn’t pay any special price to buy this - in the end, it’s just a beef, barley and lentil soup.
The dry mix consists of barley and lentils. The spice packet contents are listed as chili powder, salt, onion, garlic and spices. These are really simple ingredients. Although it was a gift, I looked this up and the mixes sell for about $5 for a 12 oz box. The basic raw materials from the grocery store wouldn’t cost nearly this much, so I thought there might be some unusual flavor that made this so special. I made up the soup today to find out.
For starters, in addition to the mix, I had to go to the store and buy a pound of ground beef (or stew meat- but I bought the ground beef), a big onion, and two 15-oz cans of tomatoes. They suggest no-salt tomatoes, and this would reduce the sodium, but there is already some salt in the spices.
The mix is loose in a lightweight boxboard container with a cellophane panel. It would be really easy to puncture this and lose some of the grains. The spices are contained in a sealed cellophane packet.
It’s simple enough to make. Brown the hamburger with the cut-up onion. Wash and check the barley and lentil mix (natural products like this may contain small stones or foreign matter. I did find a small pellet of clay in the Beefed-up Barley Soup mix.) Add the soup mix, spices, tomatoes, and water to the meat. The directions called for 10 cups of water, but I only used 8, because I didn’t want it to be thin. Bring to a boil, and simmer for one hour.
The results were just about the thickness I desired- more of a stew than a soup. I ended up with a total of 14 cups of soup, which will make nine or ten dinner servings for me.
But how did it taste? It tasted like a chili-beef soup with barley and lentils. Not exactly a surprise, is it? It’s good, but nothing special. The biggest problem for me is that it’s right on the border of the amount of chili powder that I can stand. I’m a pretty wimpy eater when it comes to “heat.” I will be able to eat this, but I’ll probably freeze most of it to spread out the experience. As you can see in the last picture, I teamed it with the Homemade Corn Chips, which was a great combination.
As prepared, there are 190 calories in a cup of soup.
This is an American product, made in Kent, Washington. The Buckeye Beans name comes from Spokane area history and a lumber mill called Buckeye Lumber Company. The gourmet food company is located just downstream from the mill’s location and seeks to create ambiance by playing on the name.
Buckeye Beans & Herbs offers several of these boxed soup mixes. Other offerings are Bean Soup, White Chicken Chili, Great Leap 'N Lentil, Veggie Bean, Country Split Pea, and Chicken ‘N Thyme.
Would I buy this product? I wouldn’t, because I think I could make the exact same soup for a lot less money, with a lot less salt.