Eastern European Oxtail Barley Soup

Eastern European Oxtail Barley Soup

Prep: 10 mins

Cook: 2 hrs

Total: 2 hrs 10 mins

Servings: 10 servings

Yield: 2 1/2 quarts

Oxtail barley soup is a hearty offering that can be enjoyed winter or summer as 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 beef tails and are a delicious meat source. You can eat the meat right off the bone 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.


  • 2 pounds oxtails, rinsed and patted dry

  • 3 quarts cold water

  • 1 cup barley, not the quick-cooking type, rinsed

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 6 black peppercorns

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 4 celery ribs, 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

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

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

  3. Add water and oxtails to the pan. Bring to a boil, skimming off any frothy foam that comes to the surface.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Remove meat from bones and return to soup.

  7. Remove bay leaf and serve.

Recipe Variation

  • For a defatted version, cool soup in an ice bath and refrigerate. Skim off accumulated fat from surface and heat.
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
Amount per serving
Calories 270
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 17%
Saturated Fat 5g 26%
Cholesterol 85mg 28%
Sodium 340mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 26g
Vitamin C 8mg 38%
Calcium 66mg 5%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 551mg 12%
*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.


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