3 lbs. meaty beef or veal shanks
3 large yellow onions, chopped
6 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
1 cup tomato puree
1 cup barley
3 tbsp. unsalted butter or margarine
1 lb. fresh cremini mushrooms, brushed clean and sliced
½ tsp. minced garlic
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 tbsp. chopped fresh dill
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
6 tbsp. sour cream (optional)
Place shanks in a saucepan and add water to cover generously. Bring to a boil over high heat, skimming often to remove any foam that forms on the surface.
Add carrots, celery and about ⅔ of the chopped onion. Reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered, for about 1 hour.
Add the tomato puree and barley, cover partially and continue to cook over low heat until the barley is tender, about 1 hour or more (Ivanka recommends cooking them an extra half hour so the meat gets really tender).
While the soup is cooking, in a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter or margarine. Add remaining chopped onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until pale gold, 10-12 minutes.
Raise the heat to high, add mushrooms and sauté, stirring often, until softened, 6-8 minutes. Add garlic, reduce heat to medium and sauté until soft, but not brown, about 3 minutes more. Season with salt, pepper and 2 tbsp. of the dill.
Remove shanks from the pan and, when cool enough to handle, cut the meat from the bone. Chop and reserve meat; you should have about 1 ⅓ cups.
Add mushroom mixture and meat to the pan and stir to heat through. Season with salt and pepper. Ladel into warmed bowls and sprinkle with parsley and the remaining 2 tbsp. of dill. Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream (optional).
Notes: TWeF serve this meal with a side of roasted vegetables (celery, carrots, parsnips and yams) and Duncan Hines’ boxed yellow cake mix—because we’re pretty sure that if you’re going to braise your own beef shanks and roast your own ducks, you get a pass to cheat on dessert.
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Download the recipe card: Beef Barley Soup With Onions