Beef and Barley Soup

December 23, 2019 § 1 Comment

I haven’t shared a recipe in ages, but I have fixed this dish and found it so hearty and insanely delicious that I thought it a most humane thing to share. Enjoy.


6    large, meaty beef short ribs

3     celery stalks

1    onion

1    bell pepper

2    large carrots, scrubbed, not peeled

2    medium parsnips, scrubbed, not peeled

3    tbsp. vegetable oil or other high-temperature cooking oil

4    oz. whole white mushrooms

4    oz. porcini or shiitake (stems removed) mushrooms

3/4 cup barley

2-3 qts. beef broth

1    bay leaf

      water as needed

      salt and black pepper

Pat the short ribs dry and season them with salt. Leave them at room temperature at least one hour, but not longer than two hours. They should be at room temperature when they are cooked.

Coarsely chop the onion, bell pepper, celery, carrots, and parsnips.

Pour the oil into a heavy Dutch oven and bring to a shimmer over medium-high heat. Brown the short ribs two at a time, removing them when browned on all sides. Remove the short ribs and set aside.

Lower the heat under the Dutch oven to medium and add the carrots and parsnips, stirring enough to keep them from burning. When the vegetables begin to soften, add the onions, bell pepper, and celery. Cook until the onion begins to turn translucent.

Add ribs back to the pot, along with the barley, and beef broth. Top with the mushrooms. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Lower to simmer and then taste, adjusting salt and pepper as needed. Simmer for 2 1/2 hours.

As the mixture simmers, a froth may rise to the top. You may skim it off or stir it in, as you prefer.

The soup is done when the meat is pulling off of the bone. Before serving, remove the bay leaf.

Serve one rib to a bowl of soup, or meat may be shredded from the bone for ease of serving.


This soup improves overnight and is best served reheated the day after making it.

You will have an easier time browning the meat by doing at most two at a time; more and the pieces can steam, thwarting the caramelization process.

You may question whether some herbs or spices wouldn’t add lots more flavor. Maybe they would. Try some yourself. But that blend of onions, celery, bell pepper, parsnips, and onions adds a savory flavor that doesn’t require much embellishment.

Add more barley for a thicker soup.

Add beef broth or water as needed to thin or extend the soup.

Be sure to chop the vegetables coarsely. A mince or fine chop will result in vegetables that simply disappear in the cooking process.

Dried mushrooms add much flavor. If you use them, reserve the mushroom water and use it to replace some of the beef broth, but be sure to strain the water through a coffee filter to remove grit and debris.

I based this recipe on an internet recipe, but made my own changes. You are essentially braising the ribs; the soup is the delicious braising liquid. As with all braises, the meat will be fall-off-the-bone tender, so you won’t need to buy boneless ribs for eatability. Besides, meat on the bone has so much more flavor.

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