As I mentioned previously, my family’s “traditional” Thanksgiving dinner involves a very large hunk of meat. We roast a HUGE prime rib, and many yummy open-faced sandwiches emerge from the leftovers (of which there are always fewer than we originally anticipate). Shockingly, we have never really done anything with the bones…until this year.
First, I made beef stock, knowing that the weather was turning colder and that I could make some sort of kick-ass soup. I roasted the bones in the oven (450 degrees for about 30 minutes) with some carrots and onions. I put the bones and veggies in a large stock pot and then poured the “brown bits” from the roasting pan in as well (I used a little water to scrape them up). I added two celery stalks (with the leaves), two plum tomatoes (skin and all), about a cup of cubed skin-on Russett potatoes, eight whole black peppercorns, one bay leaf, two whole cloves of garlic (peeled), some kosher salt, and a couple of small handfuls of dried thyme. Then I covered all of that mess with 12 cups of water and brought the whole thing to a boil. After bringing down the heat, I let it simmer for about three hours (you could certainly go longer) and then strained it.
The next day, I decided to put together a beef barley soup with the homemade stock. I puttered around the interwebs for a while, searching for the perfect recipe to serve as a guide, but I ended up pulling bits and pieces from a bunch of different recipes. I tell you what, the homemade beef stock made all the difference–the flavor was so much deeper than it would have been with store-bought, especially since the bones were roasted first. The end product was quite thick, which I really liked, but I think some folks at the table would have preferred a bit more broth. All in all, served with some crusty bread, this was an incredibly tasty and satisfying cold-weather meal. Hope everyone has a warm and toasty weekend–I may be making this soup again, as it is supposed to SNOW here in Atlanta! Brrrrr…
Warm the olive oil in the soup pot over medium high heat. Add beef and brown well. Add carrots, onion, and celery, turn heat down to medium low, and cook for about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, barley, bay leaves, beef stock, and salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered about one hour, or until barley is soft and beef is tender. If the soup thickens too much for your liking, you can thin it out with water or more beef stock.