Beef & Barley Soup + Kitchen Hint

Had a number of really cooooold days. As we all know, the best cure for frigid days is a big bowl of steaming hot soup.

Had shin beef (which I prefer to use for soup) and veggies in the fridge, pearl barley in the pantry, so decided to make a big pot of Beef & Barley Soup.

Substituted celeriac (in storage from my garden) for the celery when I realized I did not have celery. Parsley did not look good, did without and garnished with scallion from my windowsill.

Celeriacwebarge copy

Celeriac – left, unpeeled; center, peeled; right, cross section

The quantities given in the recipe made a big pot of soup, about 6 quarts, 4 of which went into the freezer. ½-ing the recipe is not a problem.

Soup thickens as it cools. Depending on how thick or thin you like your soup, extra liquid, broth or water, may be needed when reheating.

(This is a 2-part soup, hope my instructions are not too confusing.)

DSC04817weblarge2 copyIngredients for part 1
3 – 3½ pounds bone-in shin beef or meaty beef soup bones. Season with salt & pepper (just before browning).
¾ cup each, chopped fine: onion, carrots & celery celeriac
2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 – 3 dry bay leaves
2 – 3 slices fresh ginger
1 teaspoon whole peppercorn
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 – 2 tablespoons oil
8 cups water

Preparations for part 1
1. Wrap bay leaves, ginger and peppercorn in cheesecloth and tie securely.
2. Add oil to preheated stockpot. Add shin beef and brown both sides. Remove and set aside.
3. Add salt, onion, carrot and celery celeriac to stockpot, saute until lightly browned. Add garlic and tomato paste, saute until tomato paste begins to darken a bit, about 60 seconds.
4. Add water to pot, stir to loosen any fond (the brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot). Return beef to stockpot, add cheesecloth-spice-bundle. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.
5. Remove cooked beef from pot. When cool enough to handle, remove meat from bone and cut into small cubes. Return cubed meat and bone to pot. Continue with part 2.

Ingredients for part 2
1 cup uncooked pearl barley, rinsed and drained
1 pound carrot, peeled and cut into cubes or slices
3 – 4 ribs celery, sliced (I substituted 1 celeriac, about 1 pound, peeled and cubed)
1 onion (about ½ pound) peeled and cut into chunks
10 – 12 ounces mushrooms, cut into chunks or slices
few sprigs fresh thyme (from my back door garden), tie into a bunch with kitchen twine
6 – 8 cups broth, beef or chicken
coarsely chopped fresh parsley sliced scallion for garnish

Preparations for part 2
1. Add all the above ingredients (except parsley scallion) to stockpot with beef. Bring to a boil. Simmer 1 hour.
2. Remove shin bones and scoop out bone marrow if still inside the bone. Stir marrow into soup, discard bones.
3. Remove and discard cheesecloth-spice-bundle and thyme bundle.
4. Serve soup hot garnished with parsley scallion.

DSC04817weblarge copy


Removing fatweblarge copy

I trimmed all the fat from the shin beef so had only a very thin layer of fat on the surface of the soup (which actually is more a pain to get rid of than a thick layer of fat).

To remove the thin layer of fat that settled on top of the soup, I did the following:
Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the cooled soup, above left photo (fat will cling to the plastic).
Remove and discard plastic wrap with fat, above right photo. Repeat if needed.

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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

About Norma Chang

I am the author/publisher of 2 user-friendly Chinese cookbooks: "My Students' Favorite Chinese Recipes (updated edition)" and "Wokking Your Way to Low Fat Cooking" A gardener who enjoys cooking and eating and loves to think outside the box A garden volunteer at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden Conduct hands-on cooking workshops for teenagers Conduct cultural programs for children and family Conduct healthy cooking classes for adults
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44 Responses to Beef & Barley Soup + Kitchen Hint

  1. What a heavenly meal – such wonderful comfort food and what a great idea using cling film to remove the thin layer of fat.
    Have a super weekend Norma.
    😉 Mandy

  2. Katie says:

    Thanks for that great tip, Norma! Haven’t made beef and barley soup in a long time. This recipe looks delicious.

  3. Nothing like a bowl of homemade soup on a cold winter day. I don’t use tomatoes or ginger in my beef barley soup, and I add potatoes. Yours looks and sounds very good.

  4. This reminds me of a soup my mom made during the winter when I was growing up – nice and hearty. I do like using celeriac in place of celery, especially in winter soups.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Jeanette,
      Thanks for visiting. Yes, the soup was nice and hearty, ginger is not normally added to beef and barley soup but I do like the ginger flavor in beef soups.

  5. ChgoJohn says:

    The timing of your post, Norma, could not have been better, We’re in the middle of another Arctic blast. With some of this delicious soup in your freezer, I’d say you’re about as prepared as can be for whatever the weather gods have in store. 🙂
    Great tip about using plastic to remove a light coating of fat from the stock pot. I can’t wait to give it a try.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello John,
      Your Arctic blast is coming our way. Glad I have soups in my freezer. The time difference in making a small pot of soup and a large pot of soup is not much so lazy me always make a large pot, this makes the freezer happy.
      Hope the plastic film tip works for you, let me know after you get an opportunity to try it.

  6. Judy Killmer says:

    Norma, I love Beef Barley soup!! I can’t wait to try this recipe – it sounds sooooooo yummy!!! Also – great hint!!!!

  7. Eva Taylor says:

    Great tip for removing the fat Norma, thanks. I usually just put it in the fridge and spoon off the congealed fat, but for that you need time. I adore beef barley soup, and the celeriac is a great addition (so jealous that it’s from the garden). I am absolutely starving right now because I have to fast until 3pm for a Dr. appointment (really not pleased that the only appointment they had was at 3pm!)

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Eva,
      This works best for thin layer of fat. For thick layer, I place the pot in the fridge, the fat can be lifted off once it congeals. I still have a few celeriac in storage I am keeping for an experiment. I hate it when I have to fast for an afternoon Dr. appointment, I always try to get the first one of the morning.

  8. A cozy and flavoursome dinner. I love the soup.

  9. Hotly Spiced says:

    That is such a pretty looking soup. And it must have been so tasty with all those fine ingredients xx

  10. Natalie says:

    Beef and barley soup is one of my faves! So tasty!

  11. Saskia (1=2) says:

    Big yum Norma! Our weather has turned a bit Autumnal at the moment – I’m starting to think about ditching the salads for soups, so this one is bookmarked.

  12. Ginny says:

    Since winter and the bone-chilling cold air seems to be here to stayfor awhile (guess we’ll see what the groundhog has to say about it on Feb. 2nd!), I’m lloking forward to a large bowl of your Beef & Barley Soup. I’ll be making up a large batch of it tomorrow afternoon – it sounds so delicious and perfect for this time of year! I may have to think about growing celeriac this summer….

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Ginny,
      The groundhog did not see his shadow, looking forward to an early spring. Do let me know how you like my recipe.
      Celeriac is really easy to grow, do you know if seedlings will be available at the MG plant sale?

  13. This soup sounds delicious, especially since it thickens after awhile!

  14. Eha says:

    This soup is delightful even as part orf a ‘high tea’ whatever the season! The only way we learn is if we are warmly honest: I have seen and used approximately the same ingredients forever: have not used mushrooms: to me and what I cook – they seem a wee bit out of what is ‘normally’ used’? Not in the same family????

  15. Ohh this soup sounds so comforting and perfect for week night supper 🙂 I don’t see celeriac for sale much in Melbourne and when it does I’ve never tried cooking with it ~ but i really should!

  16. Sammie says:

    Hi Norma! Barley is my absolute favourite grain! I’ve never had it prepared this way before though! Usually my grandma makes it into a slightly sweet and warm dessert! But yes I would love to try barley prepared the savoury way!

  17. Kristy says:

    This looks delicious Norma – and perfect for these cold temperatures! I love that you were able to use substitutes with things from your own garden and sill. 🙂

  18. I love Beef and Barley Soup Norma! Great tip on the plastic wrap. Removing fat from soup with ingredients (not stock) is always a challenge. Thanks 🙂

  19. Hi Norma, great tip on removing fat, it works well on thick soups. I’ve been using this method for a very long time with any stews. Soups I tend to make with a stock. I love barley soups, and barley in general. This morning I had a drink made off roasted barley. 🙂

  20. curiosa kat says:

    Using plastic wrap to remove the fat is a great idea. Thanks for the superb tip! 🙂

  21. Dear Norma,

    This is one of my favourite soups, especially when the beef shin is gently simmered until it’s so tender. Just curious why you deleted the celery from the recipe as I thought celery gives a warm and distinctive flavour to the soup;

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Chopin,
      I had no celery in the house and did not want to run to the store just for a head of celery, fortunately I had celeriac in storage so decided to use as sustitute. I love shin beef in soups and stews, it has such a wonderful texture and flavor.

  22. Norma, that’s a brilliant way to remove the fat! I think you’re very clever to grow celeriac, I haven’t been able to do so successfully. It always ends up with so many roots and so gnarled that there’s barely anything left to eat once they’ve been trimmed back! Delicious soup!

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