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Short Rib Mushroom Barley Soup

January 17, 2014


I’m a fool for soup, but had never made Beef Mushroom Barley myself, so I trolled the internet looking for a great recipe.

I discovered there were many MANY variations of this classic. None exactly the one I wanted to try, but each with some ingredient or technique that caught my eye.

So I took what I thought were the best parts of the five or six recipes I’d printed out, considered issues of proportion, and fashioned my very own version.

From one, I took parsnips. From another, tomatoes. Another one mentioned horseradish. One liked short ribs over other cuts of beef. Thyme was often used, but only one mentioned garlic. One browned the vegetables. Another used a combination of dry and fresh mushrooms. One used white wine. And so on.

The result was remarkably good. A hearty, flavorful bowl of pure comfort, perfect for a cold evening at home with people you love and your favorite wine.


You’ll Need:

1 1/2 lbs beef short ribs
8 cups cold water
3 cups boiling water
12 dried shiitake mushrooms
2 1/2 tsps salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbs olive oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled & diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 parsnip, peeled & diced
8 -10 oz fresh button or other mushrooms, cleaned & quartered
1/2 cup pearl barley
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
2 tsp prepared horseradish
1/2 cup white wine

1 large soup pot with a lid
1 large frying pan
2 medium bowls
1 strainer
Paper towels


1. Place the short ribs & cold water in the soup pot & bring to a boil.

2. Put the dried mushrooms in the bowl of boiling water & allow to soak & soften for 20 minutes.

3. Drain the softened mushrooms over the strainer lined with paper towels, reserving the strained liquid in the bowl beneath it.

4. Add the strained mushroom liquid to the soup pot.

5. Cut the softened mushrooms into quarters & add them to the soup pot.

6. Reduce the heat to simmer, add the salt & pepper, then partly cover, and cook for about 60 – 90 minutes, until ribs are quite tender and nearly falling off the bone.

7. As this simmers, check the pot from time to time and skim off any foam that collects on the top of the simmering liquid.

8. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium high heat until it shimmies in the frying pan.

9. Reduce the heat to medium and brown the diced onion, carrots, parsnip, celery & mushrooms well, for about 25 minutes, stirring often.

10. Add the thyme, minced garlic & barley to the frying pan, and cook another minute or so.

11. When the short ribs are tender, remove them with a slotted spoon & allow them to cool before removing the meat from the bones and shredding or cutting it into bite sized pieces.

12. Skim the foam again, if any, then add the contents of the frying pan, the diced tomatoes, the horseradish & the wine to the soup pot.

13. Add the meat you’ve taken off the short ribs back to the soup pot, then simmer everything, uncovered, for about 40 minutes, until the barley is tender.

14. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt & pepper, as desired.


From → Beef, Soup

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