Oxtail and Barley Soup

2 pounds oxtails, cut into 1-inch pieces, rinsed and patted dry
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup red wine
1 cup pearl barley
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs thyme

Sprinkle the oxtails with the salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven and brown oxtails on all sides, for 8 minutes total. Transfer to a plate and discard all but 2 tablespoons fat.

Add the onion, celery and garlic to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another minute. Add the wine to pot, bring to a boil and scrape up any browned bits.

Return oxtails to pan along with 10 cups water, bring to a simmer and skim off any foam that rises to surface. Add the barley, carrots, bay leaf and thyme; cover, reduce heat and simmer until meat and barley are tender, about 1 hour. Remove meat from bones and return to soup. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 8 servings.

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