Lemon Spice Beef & Barley Soup

Lemon Spice Beef & Barley Soup

This is a flavor-infused take on a cold weather classic: beef and barley soup. Our update begins with a rich broth flavored with lemon, ginger and spices that adds a tasty contrast to the comfort food appeal of barley and carrots.
Course Main Course, Main Dish, Soup
Cuisine American, European


  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil
  • 3 shallots thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 inch ginger thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon zest & juice
  • 2 large leeks sliced
  • 1 pound beef shank bone-in
  • 3 tablespoons five-spice powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 2 carrots shredded
  • 1 lemon thinly sliced to serve


  • Heat the oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven at a medium-high setting.
  • Add the shallots and garlic, and sauté for 3 minutes or so, until fragrant.
  • Add the ginger, and continue to cook for another minute or two.
  • Next, add the lemon zest, and sauté for a minute, then the leeks.
  • Cook and stir the leeks until they begin to soften.
  • Keep the heat fairly high, and add the beef shank along with the salt, pepper and five-spice seasoning. Brown on one side for 2 minutes, then flip and brown on the other side for another 2 minutes.
  • Add the water, and bring back to a boil.
  • Lower the heat, cover, and allow to simmer for 2 to 3 hours, until the meat is soft and falling off the bone. Stir occasionally, and you can add more water if it reduces by more than a cup or so.
  • When the meat is soft, you can either cut it into small pieces and add it back into the soup, or discard if you find it too fatty.
  • Check the broth and add any seasonings as needed.
  • Add the barley, and bring it back to a simmer.
  • After 15 minutes, add the shredded carrots.
  • After another 10 to 15 minutes, the barley and carrots should be tender.
  • Serve with a thin slice of lemon (optional).


Note: Our version creates the broth from scratch, but if you already have beef broth on hand, or want to speed up the process, follow the recipe to the point where water is added. Add the same amount of broth instead, and simmer for about 30 minutes to let the spices and flavors blend into the broth. Then, add the rice, and follow the recipe as is.
Keyword Lemons
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