Rich Beef Barley Soup

Total Time:
2 hr 35 min
15 min
2 hr 20 min

6 servings

  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 2 pounds beef oxtails
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
  • 2 cups (1/2-inch) diced carrots (4 carrots)
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup (1/2-inch) diced celery (2 stalks)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 10 cups canned beef broth
  • 1 cup pearled barley

Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset. Add the oxtails, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes until browned all over. Remove the oxtails with a slotted spoon and reserve.

Add the leeks, carrots, onion, celery, and garlic to the fat in the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, until the vegetables start to brown. Tie the thyme sprigs together with kitchen string and add to the pot along with the bay leaves. Return the oxtails to the pot and add the broth, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Raise the heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Discard the thyme bundle and the bay leaves, and skim off the fat.

Meanwhile, bring 4 cups of water to a boil and add the barley. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, drain, and set aside.

When the soup is ready, add the barley and cook the soup for another 15 or 20 minutes, until the barley is tender. Depending on the saltiness of the stock, the soup might need another teaspoon of salt and some pepper. Serve hot, with or without the oxtails.

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4.7 60
I don't even have words for how much I love this recipe. (I'm currently eating a bowl of second-day leftovers and loving my life.) It tastes so amazing, especially the second or third day, and it is SO EASY to make - perfect. Everyone either asks for the recipe or asks when I'm making more. Only change I've made - first time I prepared to make it, I could not find oxtails (and had never cooked with them before besides). Another reviewer recommended short ribs as a substitute.... I have never looked back. I trim off the major fat and use boneless - by the second day the beef melts in your mouth, it's incredible. There is truly not a more perfect meal for a cold winter's day. So thanks to you, Ina, for making me look like a hero in the kitchen! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Naturally this is very good. However, I really believe 1small change is essential !! HULLED barley or SCOTCH,or pot barley are all far more preferred over pearl barley.The reason is : pearl barley is the least nutritous,offers NO whole grain benifit at all b/c the pearling process strips the grain. You can find quality barleys hullud ( alo called hulless barley)in some grocery stores, but natural stores are a much better bet. If your going to spend the bucks for ox tails...then it makes sense to get the most nutritional bang for your buck too. Just google pearl barley vs hulled barley to ck out this info. As for the recipe, I usally sub onion in place of leaks..I use homemade or semi home made stock. If money is short, I use lean stew meat plus some bones. I often brown the stew meat., and deglaze the pan w/ wine or stock. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This recipe is AWESOME! I cut it by half and still had plenty to freeze. My first time using oxtails, they enriched my homemade beef stock beautifully yet still kept the soup light. Once the soup was done I shredded the meat from the tails and mixed it back in the pot. I am beyond pleased with this recipe item not reviewed by moderator and published
Hubs and I love this soup. I like to make and freeze a lot of soup and stock in summer while on break from my teaching job and my garden is producing. This recipe looked like it would freeze well. We buy our beef in bulk locally and had the tail from that. My Buying partner wanted nothing to dowith the tail. I had a bowl even before the fat was removed and it was excellent I discard the oxtail without bothering without trying to remove any meat. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Wow, I've been making beef barley soup for 20 years, but following this recipe I think this is the best batch I've ever made. The only thing I did differently was I added a slice of beef shank, cut up and browned after the oxtails, because I know how hard it is to get the meat off the oxtails. It smelled so good I had a big bowl for lunch, before I put it in the fridge overnight to defat. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Delicious and easy to make. Didn't have oxtails so used a good stew meat. Awesome flavor! Thanks again, Ina! item not reviewed by moderator and published
5 stars for easy prep...but I needed to doctor this up with a few things--a few healthy dashes of Worcestershire and Maggi sauce, 12 oz of tomato sauce I had leftover, and kitchen bouquet. I made the barley a day ahead to save time today. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I'm making this right now, as the snow is melting I'm not reminded of home since that is New Orleans. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I love this soup! I made this last year as well. I used the ribs left over from my Christmas rib roast - even though they were already cooked. Just browned them as suggested. A great way to use up what would have been thrown out. A hearty, tasty soup. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I doubled the recipe and since the butcher only had 2 lbs of oxtails, I added 2 lbs of beef short ribs. I also used LOW SODIUM beef broth--12 cans--so I could control the saltiness myself. My goodness this was sooooooo good! I allowed the soup to simmer for 2 hours to get the oxtails nice and tender. I then removed the ribs and oxtails after 2 hours, let them cool and shredded the meat from bones. After I did that, I skimmed the fat from the top of the soup, tossed the shredded meat back in and added the cooked barley. FANTASTIC. item not reviewed by moderator and published
OOOPS I forgot to mention this is even better when I add chopped portebella mushrooms and about a cup or so of red wine. A clarette or cabernet sauvignon seems to work best for me.ce I even added a few hot peppers( pablano and aneheim), b/ c my guests like spicy foods. That twist went over ery well also.For stock I like to use Emeril' beef stock, which I keep a good supply of in my freezer.....Huge booste up in depth of flavor item not reviewed by moderator and published
Thankyou for posting about the differences in barley! I never knew that. I will now purchase a more nutritious barley because of your information. Thankyou!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Why would you rate this recipe with only 2 stars when you haven't even made it yet? You're trashing the recipe rating! Cook and follow the recipe as it is, then rate it! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I agree.. ratings like this should be removed as they are not accurate. Cooks want to know how THIS recipe is, not a person's thoughts on it or doctored up version item not reviewed by moderator and published

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