Elk with Barley Soup

I look forward to cold weather here in northern California so that I can enjoy a steaming bowl of soup. Any antlered game animal will do. Also, try this recipe with ducks or geese, but save it for less than premium species like divers and snow geese. I cannot overemphasize how much better the soup will taste if you make your own broth or stock from the carcasses and trim of your animals. Roast ‘em with some vegetables and throw everything into a pot. Cover it with water, bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, for 5 to 6 hours or, better yet, overnight. Save the liquid and discard the rest.

This recipe calls for onions, carrots and celery, but you can use whatever vegetables you have lying around. If you can’t find barley, use rice, pasta or potatoes. I like to serve it with homemade croutons topped with some melted bleu cheese.

Elk with Barley Soup


  • 2 pounds elk meat trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 4 stalks celery diced
  • 3 carrots diced
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 quarts game broth or beef broth
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary optional
  • 3 cups cooked barley prepare as per package


  • Season meat liberally with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat, add meat and brown evenly. Add onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Cook 5 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add broth and rosemary and cook over medium heat until meat is soft. Depending on the cut of meat, it may take an hour or two. Remove rosemary and stir in barley. Serve with warm bread or croutons.

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