If you are wondering what to do with some leftover beef from your holiday dinner, here’s a really easy and delicious option. I hadn’t made beef barley soup in years, but I knew I had a can of pearl barley in the pantry (packaged for the Indonesian market, oddly) so I figured I would give this a go. I had no recipe to follow and just winged it, to spectacularly good results. It’s cooling now and I will have enough soup for 10-12 servings in the days ahead. We have had several wonderful meals at home over the past two weeks and for the eve last night, but for lunch today we had leftovers… Sometimes, I like the leftovers almost more than the main meal. :)
I took out about a kilo of uncooked brisket from the freezer, the remnants of another dish from weeks ago. It is one of the toughest briskets I have come across, but figured it would be fine for a soup. Defrosted, I cubed it up and added it to a very hot pan and browned it all over. Removed the meat, added some olive oil to the pan along with the fat from the beef, and sauteed some roughly chopped onions, carrots and celery. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Next, I added back the browned beef, threw in three large leftover bones from a Prime Rib Roast a few days back, added say 6 cups of water and 8 cups of canned beef broth and let this simmer for about 1.5 hours over very low heat. The pieces of brisket were tough, so we pulled them out and shredded them into smaller pieces and added them back to the soup. I like tomatoey soups so I added a can of Italian Cherry tomatoes. Then about 2 cups of pearl barley and let this cook for another 40+ minutes. Season with salt and pepper. If you had some mushrooms (which I didn’t), you could slice them and add them to the soup as well.
After about 3 hours of cooking time total, the soup was done. Fantastic broth, hearty chunks of meat and vege, and the barley as well. If you have some flat leaf parsley you could chop that and throw it in as well. This will probably even taste better after a day or two in the fridge. Just add broth when reheating so it isn’t too thick. You can also skim off solidified fat after a stint in the fridge if you want to have less calories.