Bündner Gerstensuppe – Swiss Barley Soup



In my home canton of Graubünden, high up in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, this barley soup is served in every little mountain restaurant. After a morning of hiking in the fresh mountain air, there’s nothing better than lunch on the sun terrace of a rustic mountain restaurant. A large bowl of Bündner Gerstensuppe with an endless supply of thick slabs of rye bread for dunking, carried out to be eaten in the alpine sunshine, really hits the spot.


Gerstensuppe At Alp Garfiun

Eating Gerstensuppe At Alp Garfiun Near Klosters, Switzerland

Chock-a-block full of wieners, barley, and vegetables, this hearty soup is more like a stew. And it gives you lots of energy for an afternoon of vigorous hiking in the high Alps.

Note: Use good European-style wieners – not hot dogs.


Ingredients (Serves 4)

1 tbsp olive oil

½ lb (220g) wieners, cut into ¼-½” (5-12mm) rounds

¼ cup barley

4 cups chicken stock (or water and 2 bouillon cubes)

1/8 head cabbage, thinly sliced

1 carrot, sliced into ¼” (5mm) rounds & quartered

1 stalk celery, sliced ¼” (5mm) thick

1 leek, sliced into ¼” (5mm) rounds

1 bayleaf

½ cup whipping cream

Copious quantity of rye bread, sliced thick


1. In a medium pot, heat oil over medium-low. Add wieners and lightly brown them – cooking 5-8 minutes.

Browning Wieners

2. Add barley and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Barley Added

3. Add stock, cabbage, carrot, celery, leek, and bay leaf. Bring to simmer. Cover and simmer for 1½ hours.

Simmered Barley Soup

4. Stir in cream and serve with a large basket of rye bread.

Cream Stirred Into Gerstensuppe


Categories : Soups & Salads

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