Smoked Meat Soup with Barley

Czech name: Uzená polévka s kroupami

Written by Barbora Lerchova

In the Czech Republic, smoked meat soup with barley is known for its unique and hearty taste. In the past, the soup was cooked with burnt semolina, but nowadays it is prepared with barley. Smoked meat soup with barley is the best suggestion for how to start the Czech carnival season, which is celebrated before Easter and lasts for three days. Carnival is usually connected with dance, entertainment, and feasting before Lent. Barley is traditionally made of grain and it is suitable for a gluten-free diet. This soup is also appropriately served in winter because of its energy value. Therefore, feel free to try it in spring or winter or whenever!


2 lbs smoked ham
4 potatoes
1 cup barley
3 whole allspice berries
6 whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 carrot
1 Tbs marjoram
4 garlic cloves minced
salt and ground black pepper to taste
parsley for garnish


Slice the smoked ham, carrot, and potatoes into small pieces. Put the sliced ham in a pot with 8 cups of water. Add the bay leaf, black pepper, allspice, and marjoram. Bring the water to a boil. Reduce the flame and cook the meat for about one hour. In the meantime, cook the barley separately in one gallon (16 cups) of salt water and let it sit for at least 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, pour the water out. When one hour has passed, strain the broth through a sieve. Remove the cooled meat from the broth. Put the sliced potatoes, carrot, and garlic into the clean broth. Boil until the vegetables are soft. Add the barley and the meat. Finish cooking quickly. You may then flavor the soup with parsley and serve your meal.

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