Beef, Barley and Mushroom Broth
- 6 x 150g beef shank portions or 675g/1½lb boneless beef shin, cut into 2.5cm/1inch cubes
- Salt and freshly milled black pepper
- 30ml/2tbsp rapeseed oil
- 200ml/7fl oz. cider
- 1.4L/2pints good, hot vegetable stock
- 1.4L/2pints good, hot beef stock
- 4 fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 100g/4oz pearl barley, rinsed
- 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
- 250g/9oz chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
- Extra thyme leaves, to garnish
Put the beef in a large mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Heat half the oil in a large non-stick pan and cook the beef portions for 3-4 minutes until brown all over. Cook the beef in two batches if using diced cubes. Transfer to a large flame/heatproof ovenproof casserole dish with a lid.
Add the cider, stocks, thyme and bay leaves to the casserole dish.
Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer on the hob for 1½hours. Add the pearl barley, cover and continue to cook for a further 1½hours for cubes, or 2 hours for shank portions, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in the same frying pan and cook the onion for 10-15 minutes until caramelised under a low heat. Remove from the heat and stir through the mushrooms.
During the last 5-10 minutes of the cooking time add the onions and mushrooms to the broth.
Serve with crusty bread and or seasonal vegetables.