My family and I enjoy going to newly-opened restaurants and checking out the food that they serve and comparing them to other places that we’ve already visited. There was one place that stayed in my mind for a long time. This was because when we ordered their specialty, beef barley soup, it came in individual, hollowed-out, hard crust bread bowls the size of melons. Of course, that was more than 20 years ago and bread bowls filled with soup have become a part of the new way to eat soup. I have experimented and learned how to make the soup since then, with my own variations.
Beef barley soup
1 pound of beef shank with bone in
2 medium sized onions, sliced thinly
1 whole garlic, crushed
3 cans tomatoes, drained
2 stalks celery
2 dried bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp paprika
10 cups water
1 cup barley
3 cups diced potatoes
2 cups diced carrots
3 cups fresh corn kernels
Salt and pepper
Use a stock pot large enough for your soup. Put the first nine ingredients together in the pot; season with salt and pepper and set on the stove, using a high flame. When it starts to boil, adjust the flame to the lowest setting and let it simmer until meat falls off the bone. (I usually leave mine overnight and just add water as needed.)
Scoop out the bones and let your soup stock cool down to be able to take out excess fat. Set pot once again on the stove and bring to a boil; add the rest of the ingredients. Stir the soup from time to time and adjust seasoning. Cook until done; serve with crusty rolls. Serves six without the bread bowl and four within the bread bowl.
I often make a big batch, enough to last for the entire week, especially during cold weather. It makes a great lunch as well as after-school snack that won’t fill the kids up too much before dinner is served. I also make this soup as a starter for dinner parties or toss it in a crock pot for parties in the winter months.
I freeze the excess stock and just get it out when needed and add the vegetables. It will last for several weeks if properly stored in an airtight container. You can run it under hot water or put the container in a boiling pot of water to quickly defrost it. Add your vegetables and you have a quick meal after a busy day, too!