I've put together a slightly different version of classic beef and barley soup, using osso bucco (veal shanks) instead of stewed beef. My recipe requires a few extra steps--but it's well worth the effort! I braise the osso bucco first and then puree the broth with all the braising liquid and vegetables. The rich broth gives the soup deep flavor and body.
Osso bucco barley soup
3 lb of veal osso bucco
1 onion cut in quarters
4 carrots cut in half
2 stalks of celery cut in 3 pieces
8 garlic cloves rough chopped
1 large can of diced tomatoes
1 cup of red wine
10 cups of chicken stock or water (beef stock is a good option, too)
2 sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 onion small diced
1 leek washed and small diced
2 carrots small diced
2 parsnips small diced
1/2 cup of barley
2 to 3 cups of braising liquid
1 tbsp of thyme chopped
1/4 cup of green onions chopped
2 tbsp of olive oil
2 tsp of fresh cracked pepper
Salt to season
Season both sides of Osso bucco with salt and pepper. In a large braising pot on medium high heat, add oil and seasoned osso bucco. Sear the veal on the first side for about 3 minutes or until golden brown. Turn the veal over and add the vegetables for braising on top. Cook for about 2 minutes and add the wine. Cook until the wine is reduced by half and add stock or water. Add the canned tomatoes and herbs and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 2 - 2 1/2 hours or until meat is tender.
About an hour and a half into the veal braising, start the soup. In a separate soup pot on medium high heat, add olive oil, and all the soup vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and cook for about 4 minutes without browning the vegetables. Add the barley to the vegetables.
Using a small fine strainer, ladle out 3 cups of the braising liquid from the veal pot and add it to the soup vegetables and barley. Add another pinch of salt, cover and cook for about 45 minutes on medium low. When the barley is done the veal should be about done, too.
Pull the veal, thyme, and bay leaves out of the braising pot. Discard the herbs and separate the meat from the bones. Small dice the meat and set aside. If you like bone marrow ( my boss does) it can be added back into the soup. You can also top off the finished soup with marrow or save the marrow for another purpose.
Instead of discarding or composting the braising vegetables, why not use them to enrich the soup? Place the braising liquid, tomatoes, vegetables into a blender and puree until smooth. You might have to do this in batches. My puree was a beautiful orange color from the carrots. I added all but 2 cups of the braising puree to my vegetable and barley soup. Now add the diced veal to the soup.
I finished the soup by bringing it back to a simmer, then seasoning it with fresh chopped thyme, green onions, salt and fresh cracked pepper. The soup is wonderful in a fancy coffee cup or a favorite bowl. If you want to make it real fancy add marrow foam and call it a osso bucco cappuccino. As pictured, I served the soup with toast points, a drizzle of olive oil, and a green onion sliver.