Swiss Barley Soup or “Gerstensuppe”

Source:  Beerli Family cir. 1970

Barley Soup or "Gerstensuppe"

In Switzerland, this soup becomes a staple during the cold winter months. People also consider this a special enough meal to be included on their Christmas menu's. Hearty, wholesome, warm and immensely satisfying are they words best to describe this soup. Additionally, barley is a powerhouse ingredient. It's loaded with antioxidants, nutrients and fiber. It helps with cholesterol and stabilizes blood pressure. So I ask you now...what's not to love??? Enjoy!
Course 1 Appetizer (Soup/Salad)
Cuisine Swiss
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 8 people


  • 60 Grams Rollgerste (grain) or Barley
  • 3 to 4 stocks celery finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium leek sliced and washed
  • 2 Tbs oil
  • 100 grams bouillon vegetable or meat (chicken or beef)
  • 300 grams pork sliced or diced
  • 1 cup heavy cream optional, or you can put a few tablespoons in, the effect is the same
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper
  • 1 pinch nutmeg for flavor and color
  • 1 to 2 sprigs parsly for garnish


  • Heat butter and olive oil in a soup kettle over medium-high heat. Add onion and leek and cook until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the carrots, celery, and pork. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add stock, barley grain and potatoes. Simmer for 1 hour.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in cream and bring back to heat, without boiling.
  • Ladle into bowls and garnish with parsley.
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