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
  • 3-4 stocks celery finely chopped
  • 2 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 2 potatoes peeled and chopped
  • 1 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
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch nutmeg for flavor and color
  • 1-2 sprigs parsly for garnish


  1. 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.
  2. Add the carrots, celery, and pork. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add stock, barley grain and potatoes. Simmer for 1 hour.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in cream and bring back to heat, without boiling.
  5. Ladle into bowls and garnish with parsley.
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