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.