We received a bit of whole grain barley in our last CSA share and I knew exactly what I would do with it. Derek loves beef and barley soup, so I wanted to find and make the perfect recipe. I’ve previously made Smitten Kitchen’s super easy beef, leek, and barley soup (see link below), but I wanted a bit more going on than the bare bones recipe. I turned to trusty old Google and came across several different variations on the beef and barley theme and ultimately landed on the Tasty Kitchen recipe linked below.
But the thing is, the Smitten Kitchen uses beef short ribs, which is pretty much my favorite cut of beef. But beef short ribs in a soup would be too greasy since the short ribs have so much fat. I knew the solution would be to turn this recipe into a two day process. Sure, it takes a bit more time than most soup recipes, but both days are spent going about your life while the soup simmers away on the stove. So, while it might take four hours when all is said and done, it’s only about 15 or 20 minutes of hands-on time. And really, you don’t have to get all intense– check out the notes in the recipe and either use a different cut of meat (stew beef) or throw everything into a crock pot for day 2.
1-2 pounds of bone-in beef short ribs
5 garlic cloves
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 carrots, diced
2 potatoes, diced
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
Beef stock or water
1/2 cup barley
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
Day 1– Put your short ribs in the bottom of a large stock pot. Add three smashed cloves of garlic, two quartered onions, and the (cleaned) leeks cut lengthwise and then into segments–use both the white and the green parts. Add a 1/2 tablespoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper and fill the pot with 8-10 cups of water. Bring it to the simmer, cover and let it go for 2 hours. After 2 hours, fish out the ribs and any pieces of beef that may have fallen off the bone and reserve. Strain the veggies from the stock and put the stock in the fridge overnight so that you can remove the [hardened] fat easily the next day.
Day 2– Add the olive oil to a large pot and heat to medium. Add the remaining onion and garlic, chopped and minced and cook while stirring to prevent burning. Add the carrots, potatoes, and seasoned salt and top with the beef stock you made yesterday. Add water or store-bought beef stock for a total of at least 8 cups. Stir in the barley, thyme, and bay leaf and bring everything to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for an hour. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt and pepper as needed. Stir in the tomatoes and remove the short rib meat from the bones (from yesterday) and chop it up and stir that in as well. Let simmer for an additional hour. Remove the bay leaf before serving.
If you want to make this a one-day recipe, use beef stew meat and cartons of store-bought beef broth. Brown the beef before you add the onion and garlic and continue with the “Day 2” steps using store-bought broth.
Additionally, if you would like to do this in a crock pot, make the above beef substitution and pick up the recipe at “Day 2” and let it go 6 hours on “low”.