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Rich and Creamy Potato, Leek and Barley Stew

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Rich and Creamy Potato, Leek and Barley Stew

Rich and Creamy Potato, Leek and Barley Stew

Jessica Braider
Scramble fan Vicki Botnick has been making this hearty stew for her family for years. Scramble recipe tester Debbie F. said “Wow, this is the soup that I have been waiting for!”
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings


  • 1 cup quick-cooking or regular barley if using regular barley, soak in water overnight, if time allows
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 leeks white parts only, sliced and soaked in water to clean them
  • 3 medium white potatoes peeled if desired and diced
  • 2 carrots sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh or dried rosemary or thyme
  • 6 cups reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth (or use any variety) plus extra water or broth to taste
  • 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper or to taste


  • Soak the barley while you are preparing the stew (unless you are using quick-cooking barley) and set it aside. (Soak it overnight, if possible, for quicker cooking.)
  • In a large saucepan, preferably nonstick, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks, potatoes, carrots and rosemary or thyme, and sauté them until they are slightly softened, 6 – 8 minutes.
  • Add the broth and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer it uncovered for 10 minutes.
  • Puree the soup in a blender or use a hand-held immersion blender (add up to a cup of water or broth for a thinner soup) and return it to the pot over medium heat.
  • Add the cheese and drained barley.
  • Allow the barley to cook until it is tender, about 30 minutes, stirring it occasionally. (Check the barley after 10 minutes if you used quick-cooking barley or soaked it overnight. Stir in the black pepper, and serve it immediately.

Slow Cooker Directions

  • There's no need to pre-soak the barley. Combine all the ingredients except the cheese, in the slow cooker and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-6 hours. Approximately 30 minutes before serving, puree as directed, returning the soup to the slow cooker if you have used a traditional blender, or puree right in the slow cooker with an immersion blender. Add cheese and cook on low for up to 30 minutes more to allow cheese to melt. At serving time, give a quick stir to incorporate the cheese into the soup. (Slow cooker cooking times may vary—Get to know your slow cooker and, if necessary, adjust cooking times accordingly.)


Do Ahead or Delegate: Soak the barley, slice and clean the leeks, peel (if desired) and dice the potatoes and cover them with water to prevent browning, slice the carrots, shred the cheese, if necessary.
Scramble Flavor Booster: Double the rosemary or thyme or use ½ tsp. of each.  Season the soup with freshly ground black pepper.
Tip: Barley is usually sold pearled (which means polished).  If you want barley’s more fiber-rich version, looked for the hulled (whole grain) variety.  Keep in mind that hulled barley does take longer to cook.  See the package for cooking instructions.
Nutritional Information Per Serving (% based upon daily values): Calories 260, Total Fat: 8g, 12%; Saturated Fat: 5g, 23%; Cholesterol: 20mg, 7%; Sodium: 400mg, 17%; Total Carbohydrate: 37g, 12%; Dietary Fiber: 7g, 28%; Sugar: 5g; Protein: 9g
Like this recipe? Check out The Scramble's family-friendly meal plans to see just how simple getting dinner on the table can be!
Keyword All, Dinner, Fall, Freezer-Friendly, High Fiber, Kid-Friendly, Kosher, Low Fat, Low Sodium, Main Dish, Make-Ahead, Nut-Free, Slow Cooker, Soups & Stews, Spring, Summer, Vegetarian, Winter
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