A hearty and satisfying winter meal, Beef, Barley and Wild Mushroom Soup is a perfect dish for the coldest of days. I love making this recipe when I have leftover Roast Prime Rib of Beef or Braised Oxtail, so I can make excellent use of the flavourful bones and tender morsels of beef. Browning the bones adds a delicious complexity to the stock, and simmered together with the leftover beef, sautéed leeks, fresh shiitake mushrooms, pearl barley, fresh herbs and a lashing of Port, it evolves into a richly aromatic and soul satisfying winter soup.
Beef, Barley & Wild Mushroom Soup with Port
2 tbsp canola oil
3/4 lb leftover roast beef, cut into soup size pieces, plus the rib bones
2 leeks, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/3 pound shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 cup port or red wine
8 cups beef broth
1 cup pearl barley
3 bay leaves
6 sprigs thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
In a large pot, brown the beef bones in 2 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat, until they're roasted on all sides. Remove and set aside.
In the same pot, sauté the leeks and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the celery and carrot and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the wine or port and simmer for a minute or so, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.
Add the beef bones and leftover meat to the pot, then add the broth, barley, mushrooms, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for an hour, until the beef and barley are both tender.
Remove from the heat, discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs, and skim off any fat from the surface of the soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into warmed bowls, garnish with a sprig of thyme and serve immediately with some hot crusty bread.