Jan 6
2012

Lean Bison & Barley Soup Recipe with Green Peas

Lean-Bison-Barley-Soup-Recipe-with-Green-Peas-Cookin-Canuck

Yes, I’m at it again – messing with tried-and-true favorites and likely making several traditionalists out there roll their eyes in exasperation. What’s the point in changing your standby beef and barley soup recipe? Don’t get me wrong. I still have a soft spot in my heart for beef-packed soups. However, since we’re doing this whole “Healthy Eating in 2012″ thing, I thought it was time to lighten things up a little by pairing bison (American buffalo) meat with fiber-rich barley in a soup that is sure to melt the icicles off the most frigid naysayers.

Bison meat has been adopted as a popular alternative to beef in the buffalo burgers found on menus around the country and is becoming more readily available in supermarkets and warehouse stores, such as Costco. But what’s all the fuss about? What’s the big deal about bison meat?

Well, since you asked…or was that me? Well, somebody asked. So, here we go:

Health
There’s a reason that Readers’ Digest listed bison as one of the top five foods that women should eat. Each 3.5 ounce serving of the lean meat is packed with iron, 36 percent of the daily recommended amount, to be exact. I don’t know about the rest of you, but my average intake of iron is abysmal, something I lamented about when I posted my Baked Pasta Shells with Beef, Sundried Tomatoes & Spinach. I had just started using a food tracker, which let me know how pathetic I was, ferrically-speaking (that’s going to be my new favorite iron-related phrase).

Okay, so it’s high in iron. What else? Well, bison meat also boasts high levels of protein and Vitamin B-12 and lower calorie and cholesterol counts than beef, chicken or pork. I’ve got your attention now, don’t I? Take a look at this nifty little chart to see what I mean.


Chart courtesy of Dr. M. Marchello at North Dakota State University

Raising Bison:
Bison live and feed primarily on grasslands, spending a minimal amount of time in feedlots. According to the National Bison Association, the animals are not subjected to chemicals or hormones. What implications does this have for the consumer? Well, since we are all here because we love food, one of the primary benefits of grass-fed creatures (bison, cows, etc.) is that the meat often tastes better…in my humble opinion, that is. And, if given the choice, I will definitely choose the meat that has not been pumped full of antibiotics and hormones. Call me crazy. Of course, there are plenty of environmental implications surrounding this issue, but we’re here for soup, so I’m going to side-step those issues for the time-being.

Is bison meat priced the same as beef? Nope. It tends to be pricier than most cuts of beef. However, I’m not suggesting that you completely forego beef in favor of bison – I know I’m not. However, you may want to consider working it into your meal rotation occasionally. It’s a nice change from the usual and you just can’t beat the health benefits.

For parents out there, my kids would like you to know that they gave this soup a very enthusiastic double thumbs-up. In fact, they practically licked their bowls clean. Bison meat also works beautifully in meat fondue, cooked in boiling broth and dipped in a variety of savory sauces. See our Apres Ski feature in FoodieCrush Magazine for details on fondue (bison and cheese varieties) and accompanying dipping sauces.

The recipe:

Heat 3 teaspoons canola in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat. Add the cubed bison meat, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is browned. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.

BisonBarleySoup2

Reduce heat to medium and add 1 1/2 teaspoon canola to the pan. Add chopped shallot, celery, and carrots, along with the dried thyme. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are just tender, 7 to 8 minutes.

BisonBarleySoup3

Stir in barley, beef broth, water and bison meat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and let simmer until barley is tender, about 60 minutes.

Add frozen peas and heat for additional 5 minutes. Taste and season with additional ground pepper, if desired. Stir in chopped parsley and serve.

Lean Bison & Barley Soup Recipe with Green Peas

Other recipes with bison:
Simply Recipes’ Buffalo Burger
The Cooking Photographer’s Bison Potato Soup with Bacon & Jalapenos
Eclectic Recipes’ Grilled Bison Sirloin Steak
The Pink Apron’s Bison, Butternut & Bacon Chili

Come join SoupaPalooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored by KitchenAid, Red Star Yeast and Le Creuset.

Lean Bison & Barley Soup with Green Peas

Yield: Serves 4.

Serving Size: 1/4 of the soup

Calories per serving: 289 cal

Fat per serving: Total Fat 6.4g / Saturated Fat 0.6g

Lean Bison & Barley Soup with Green Peas

From the kitchen of Cookin Canuck. www.cookincanuck.com

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. bison top sirloin steak, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 1/2 tsp canola oil, divided
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 large shallots, minced
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 3/4 cup diced carrots
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 3/4 cup pearl barley
  • 5 1/4 cups 99% fat-free beef broth
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat 3 teaspoons canola in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat. Add the cubed bison meat, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is browned. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add 1 1/2 teaspoon canola to the pan. Add chopped shallot, celery, and carrots, along with the dried thyme. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are just tender, 7 to 8 minutes.
  3. Stir in barley, beef broth, water and bison meat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and let simmer until barley is tender, about 60 minutes.
  4. Add frozen peas and heat for additional 5 minutes. Taste and season with additional ground pepper, if desired. Stir in chopped parsley and serve.

Notes

Calories 288.6 / Total Fat 6.4g / Saturated Fat 0.6g / Cholesterol 16.9mg / Sodium 240.0mg / Total Carbohydrates 38.6g / Fiber 8.4g / Sugars 2.6g / Protein 17.5g / WW (Old Points) 5 / WW (Points+) 7

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{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Belinda @zomppa January 6, 2012 at 6:11 am

A lovely, hearty combination!

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2 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Thank you, Belinda!

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3 karin January 6, 2012 at 6:39 am

I can’t wait to make this, but you left out how much barley. How much did you use?
Thanks for sharing!!!!

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4 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2012 at 6:41 am

Sorry about that, Karin! I just updated the recipe to show 3/4 cup of pearl barley. I hope you enjoy the soup.

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5 karin January 9, 2012 at 6:25 am

This will be perfect for cold and rainy day today! Thanks for the update!

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6 kelley January 6, 2012 at 7:33 am

Rock the boat all day long with your changes to tried and trues. It looks as if our bellies and hearts will be all the better for it. And that big bowl of soup screams comfort. Perfect after a long day of skiing!

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7 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Thanks, Kelley. This is exactly the kind of soup I crave on a cold day. I was thrilled that my kids enjoyed it, too.

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8 Maria January 6, 2012 at 8:39 am

Perfect soup for winter! Happy birthday my friend:) xoxo

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9 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Thank you for the birthday wishes, Maria! xo

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10 Heidi / foodiecrush January 6, 2012 at 8:55 am

Holy buffalo, bison or other lean meat. This looks so, so good with the fresh veggies and meaty combo. Where did you pick up your bison locally? I’ve had buffalo, which is also very good, but have yet to try the other b-meat. Excited to do so. And for the fondue? Oh yes, delish, that recipe still has me drooling!

And it’s your birthday! Happy bday my fellow Januarian! Me, you and Maria, all Capricorn/Aquarians. Our blog lust must be in the stars. XOXOXO have a terrific day!

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11 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Thank you, Heidi! My understanding is that American buffalo and bison are one and the same. And yes, it is perfect for fondue! I find ground bison/buffalo at Costco and the bison steaks at Harmon’s.

Thank you for the birthday wishes. Happy to be a January gal alongside you.

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12 Cookbook Queen January 6, 2012 at 8:58 am

Look at you, all cooking different meats!! Makes me think of our meals in Austin. Looks great!!

Happy Birthday, sweet Dara!! xoxo

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13 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Thank you, Kristan! Yes, it reminds me of our wild game weekend, too. How fun that was! Thank you for the birthday wishes.

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14 Sukaina January 6, 2012 at 9:00 am

I love soups with barley in them- I can feel the warmth from it. And I see it’s your brithday too. May the day and whole year be filled with laughter, family, cake and presents!

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15 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Thank you so much, Sukaina. I adore barley, too. It adds great bulk to a soup and fantastic flavor.

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16 Emilie @ Emilie's Enjoyables January 6, 2012 at 9:33 am

Wow, I never knew the health stats of bison were so great! I’m so glad you shared that.

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17 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2012 at 12:09 pm

It makes you want to eat more bison, doesn’t it? I always knew bison was a healthy meat, but was surprised to see the differences on that chart.

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18 Yvette ~ Muy Bueno January 6, 2012 at 9:46 am

Just saw you over at Taste and Tell and have been wanting to stop by and visit your blog. Its incredible and your recipes sound delish!

I’m a huge fan of bison (I live in Colorado). This recipe will be on our dinner table soon.
Gracias!

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19 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Thank you, Yvette. Deborah was so sweet to do a spotlight on my blog and me. I’m so glad you stopped by.

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20 naomi January 6, 2012 at 10:15 am

I never knew-the fat ratio in bison vs. beef is incredible. Now time for the real test. I love barley anything and so I’m going to make this for the family and see if anyone notices.

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21 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Naomi, the numbers are definitely surprising and inspiring!

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22 Steve @ the black peppercorn January 6, 2012 at 10:57 am

Oh wow Dara, this looks awesome. I love beef and barely soup andI know I would like this one also. So nice on a cold winter day. I posted soup today as well – warms the bones and often soup is healthy as well. YUM!

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23 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Thank you, Steve. How right you are – there’s nothing better than a bowl of steaming soup on a cold day.

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24 Roz@weightingfor50 January 6, 2012 at 11:22 am

HI Dara. I’ve recently discovered bison, and am a big fan. I’ve bookmarked this amazing recipe and will be trying it soon. Have a wonderful Friday.

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25 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Thank you, Roz. I hope you enjoy it.

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26 Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. January 6, 2012 at 11:58 am

looks great! Have a great weekend!!

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27 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Thank you, Alison.

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28 A Canadian Foodie January 6, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Now that looks like a stew – but whatever it is, I love the colours and the comfort that washes through seeing a dish like that on a cold blustery day!
YUM!
:)
V

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29 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Thanks so much, Valerie. There’s a little more broth than what you see in the photo (food-styling tricks, you know), so I would still consider it a soup. However, if you decrease the amount of broth, it could definitely be made into a tasty stew.

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30 Magic of Spice January 6, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Great informational post, and what a gorgeous soup!
Happy Birthday Dara, wishing you an amazing day :)

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31 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Thank you! I’m so glad you found the information useful.

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32 sweetsugarbelle January 6, 2012 at 1:27 pm

The difference is mindblowing! I would have never guessed!!! I love anything that contains barley! You gave me a craving!

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33 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2012 at 6:18 pm

I’m so glad! Healthy cravings are what I’m all about right now.

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34 Maris (In Good Taste) January 6, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Hearty, healthy and very delicious. Best wishes for a very Happy Birthday!

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35 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Thank you, Maris. I’ll be thinking of you on your birthday too, my friend.

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36 ceecee January 6, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Looks stunning! And delicious! Bison stew is one of my favorite dishes.

C.

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37 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Thank you, C! You really can’t beat the flavor and ease of cooking with bison meat.

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38 Jeanette January 6, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Great info on bison – I’ve never tried it before, but sounds like a nice healthy substitute for beef.

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39 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Jeanette, I think you’d love it, plus it would fit in with all of the healthy recipes on your blog.

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40 Drick January 6, 2012 at 6:02 pm

oh my goodness, now what am I gonna do. I thought the whole eating healthy thingy was for 2011, and I gave it my best shot…
very nice beef soup, hearty and looks to be so very flavorful, which is I guess why you end up with clean bowls…

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41 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Ha! Nice try, Drick. 2012 is the year for healthy eating.

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42 Jen at The Three Little Piglets January 6, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Boo on the naysayers! I’d take a nice bowl of this any day!

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43 marla January 7, 2012 at 8:08 am

Thanks for sharing all of this great health info on one of my favorite sources of protein. I first learned about bison when I was training for marathons – the iron is so important, especially for that long distance pounding.
These days I enjoy Bison often & your soup looks like something I will try soon :)

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44 Tickled Red January 7, 2012 at 8:13 am

Girl! That soup looks so good! Too bad there aren’t any bison roaming around on the beach but that okay. I’ll be making a visit to the butcher as well as the fish monger this weekend. MmmMmm!

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45 Lauren at Keep It Sweet January 7, 2012 at 8:24 am

I don’t know why I never think to cook with bison at home! This soup looks absolutely delicious and comforting so the fact that it is healthy is a great added bonus!

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46 Curt January 7, 2012 at 9:58 am

What a hearty and healthy recipe. I love soup this time of year!

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47 Liz January 7, 2012 at 11:19 am

Oh, I love barley soup, and your lean recipe looks spectacular!

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48 Lora @cakeduchess January 7, 2012 at 6:06 pm

Hi Dara-I hope you had a spectacular birthday and that the fun continues:)I love barley soups and your bison barley soup looks hearty and delicious:)xx

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49 Lana @ Never Enough Thyme January 8, 2012 at 11:16 am

What a gorgeous soup, Dara! We’ve had bison a few times at a local restaurant here and really enjoyed it. I’d love to try cooking with it at home so I’m hoping it will become more available at markets.

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50 Luke January 8, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Looks healthy and delicious, my kind of soup. +1

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51 Rachel @ Baked by Rachel January 8, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Such a wonderful winter dish!

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52 Robyn | Add a Pinch January 8, 2012 at 7:26 pm

I hope you had a wonderful birthday, Dara! This soup looks amazing!

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53 Amy January 9, 2012 at 12:02 pm

What a healthy option. I’ve only had a bison burger before but this sounds tempting too.

Hope you had a happy, happy birthday!

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54 Megan Pence @CountryCleaver January 9, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Oh Dara, this looks delightful and so cozy for these rainy Seattle nights we’ve been having! ~Megan

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55 angela January 16, 2012 at 2:08 pm

made this on saturday, took me awhile to find bison. great recipe.

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56 Courtney January 22, 2012 at 3:10 pm

I love soups with barley. Love that you used Bison! Can’t wait to try!

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57 Denise @ Creative Kitchen January 30, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Looks amazing….your pics always make me want to dig right in! :)

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58 Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies February 9, 2012 at 10:06 pm

I seriously want to dive right into that bowl. I’ve only eaten bison a couple of times, but you’ve convinced me. I’ll be picking some up the next time I go grocery shopping.

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59 Stephanie December 29, 2013 at 9:17 am

I wanted to know if you had any nutritional info for this recipe? It looks really delicious!

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60 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 1, 2014 at 10:47 am

Hi Stephanie, I just added in the nutritional information. I’m sorry that the serving size is a little vague (1/4 of the soup). I made and posted this recipe before I was measuring out for calories. The next time I make it, I will measure the serving size and update the information. In the meantime, hopefully you are able to estimate. I hope you enjoy the soup!

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61 beginner piano lessons online fast April 5, 2014 at 4:41 am

Today, I went to the beachfront with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to my
4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.”
She placed the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is totally off topic but I had to tell someone!

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