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Oxtail-Barley Soup Recipe

User Rating 4.5 Star Rating (2 Reviews)


Oxtail-Barley Soup Recipe

Eastern European Oxtail-Barley Soup

© 2008 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.

Oxtail-barley soup is a hearty offering that can be enjoyed winter or summeras a soup or main course with a salad and rye bread. It spans the boundaries of Eastern European countries and can be found in most kitchens.

Oxtails are actually beef tails and are a delicious meat source. This recipe comes from my mother who loved to pick up an "ox joint" and eat the meat right off the bone. You can do that or debone the cooked oxtails and add the meat back to the soup. This is a prime candidate for a slow cooker or pressure cooker.

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Makes about 2 1/2 quarts Oxtail-Barley Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes


  • 2 pounds oxtails, rinsed and patted dry
  • 3 quarts cold water
  • 1 cup barley (not quick-cooking), rinsed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 ribs celery, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon beef base or 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 carrots, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice


  1. In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, brown oxtails on all sides. There should be enough natural fat so additional oil is unnecessary. Remove oxtails and discard any rendered fat in pan.

  2. Add water and oxtails to pan. Bring to a boil, skimming off any frothy foam that comes to the surface. Add barley, bay leaf, peppercorns, garlic, celery, onion and beef base. Bring back to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour.

  3. Add carrots and tomatoes, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour or until carrots, barley and meat are tender. Remove meat from bones and return to soup. Remove bay leaf and serve.

  4. For a defatted version, cool soup in an ice bath and refrigerate. Skim off accumulated fat from surface and heat.
User Reviews

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 5 out of 5
Fabulously comforting soup, Member peanutsings

Because I love slow-cooking, tender meals, I made this wonderful soup in my crockpot. With one change - adding chunks of potato (one large potato), which enhanced and soaked up the flavor, the recipe was used as is and the seasoning is perfect. I am not one to like a lot of salt and the amount is just right. Once I ate all the meat out of the soup - greedy me - I boiled more chunks of potato and made sort of a stew which is excellent, too. This recipe is very good for using up odds and ends - very economical. I could not find the raw barley in the limited stores we have around here so I used the 10 minute barley from the start. It held its form well and was full of flavor. If you like full bodied, heart warming food, this recipe is for you.

9 out of 10 people found this helpful.

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