A hearty soup with beef, mushrooms and barley (you can also use rice if you can't find barley) perfect for enjoying in large bowls, in front of a roaring fire. It's an easy dish to put together, but takes a bit of time, so make this early in the day (or the day before).
- 3 large yellow onions, chopped
- 6 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 4 celery stalks, chopped
- 3 lb. meaty beef or veal shanks
- 8 cups of beef broth (you can also use chicken broth)
- One 8 ounce can of tomato sauce
- 1 cup barley
- 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 lb. fresh cremini mushrooms, brushed clean and sliced
- 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 4 Tbs. chopped fresh dill
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 6 Tbs. sour cream (optional)
- In a stock pot, add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat over medium high. When the olive oil is nice and shimmering, add about 2/3 each of the onions, carrots and celery. Cook for about 2-4 minutes, until the onions start to soften. Be sure to stir often and adjust the heat if the onions start to brown too quickly.
- Add the shanks and add enough broth to completely cover the shanks. Bring to a boil over high heat, skimming often to remove any foam that forms on the surface. Reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, for about 1 hour. Then add the tomato sauce and barley, cover partially and continue to cook over low heat until the barley is tender, about 1 hour more.
- While the soup is cooking, in a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the remaining chopped onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until pale gold, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Raise the heat to high, add the mushrooms and sauté, stirring often, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Add the garlic, reduce the heat to medium and sauté until soft but not brown, about 3 minutes more. Season with salt, pepper and 2 Tbs. of the dill.
- Remove the shanks from the pot and, when cool enough to handle, cut the meat from the bone. Chop and reserve the meat; you should have about 1 1/3 cups.
- Add the mushroom mixture and the reserved meat back to the pot and stir to heat through. Season with salt and pepper.
- Ladle into warmed bowls and sprinkle with the remaining 2 Tbs. dill and the parsley.
- Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream, if using.