Garden Barley Oxtail Soup

Beef Stew in Bowl
Steven Mark Needham / Getty Images
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Total: 80 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
706 Calories
28g Fat
38g Carbs
74g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 706
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 28g 36%
Saturated Fat 10g 49%
Cholesterol 203mg 68%
Sodium 527mg 23%
Total Carbohydrate 38g 14%
Dietary Fiber 9g 31%
Protein 74g
Calcium 114mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Vegetables and barley enrich this hearty made with oxtails (beef tails) and loaded with beef. This two-step process begins in the crock pot and finishes on the stove to coax all of the delicious beef flavors from the oxtails. Feel free to use your favorite vegetables and give the soup a liberal dose of freshly ground black pepper for a little kick. This is comfort food at its best and the most flavorful vegetable beef soup you have ever had. If you are unable to find oxtails, you may substitute short ribs, but the flavor will not be as rich.


  • For the Oxtails:
  • 4 pounds beef oxtails
  • Dash kosher salt
  • Dash freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (28 ounces) can petite diced tomatoes (with juice)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (crushed)
  • 1 large bay leaf (broken in half)
  • For the Soup:
  • 1 quart (4 cups) beef stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 4 carrots (peeled and sliced thick)
  • 2 large stalks celery (sliced thick)
  • 1 large sweet onion (halved and sliced thick)
  • 1 large red potato (peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes)
  • 1 cup frozen green beans (or 1/2 cup frozen sweet peas)
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • Dash salt (generous)
  • Dash freshly ground black pepper (generous)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Sprinkle oxtails generously with salt and pepper.

  3. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat.

  4. When hot, coat the bottom with olive oil.

  5. Quickly brown the oxtails on all sides. You will need to do this in two batches.

  6. Place oxtails in a single layer in a large oval crock pot.

  7. Pour tomatoes over the top and sprinkle with the oregano.

  8. Tuck the bay leaf into the mixture so they are covered.

  9. Cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours or on High five to six hours until the meat falls from the bones.

  10. Let oxtails cool until you can handle them.

  11. Then remove meat from the bones, discarding any excess fat.

  12. Place the meat in a container, cover tightly, and refrigerate.

  13. Pour the liquid into a separate container, cover tightly, and refrigerate at least six hours or overnight. (You can make this up to two days in advance.)

  14. When ready to make the soup, remove and discard the layer of fat that has risen to the top of the container with the liquid. (The liquid base will be gelatinous and firm.)

  15. Place in a large stockpot, along with beef stock and water.

  16. Bring slowly to a boil, then add the barley.

  17. Let the barley cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  18. Add carrots, celery, sweet onions, and potatoes to the stock.

  19. Simmer until just tender, then add green beans or peas and the corn.

  20. Return to a simmer and cook an additional five minutes until the frozen vegetables are warmed through.

  21. Add a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste before serving.

  22. Enjoy!

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