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2 lbs. disjointed oxtails or meaty lamb bones
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup barley
2 quarts cold water
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced thinly
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons ketchup (optional)

Rinse oxtails in cold water and pat dry.

In a large kettle or Dutch oven, brown oxtails over high heat in olive oil. Do not cook through - just cook until they color on the outside. Add onion, garlic, and carrots just as the meat begins to take on color.

Stir in water, barley and oxtails. Add remaining ingredients, except parsley, salt, pepper, and ketchup.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 2 hours. Add salt and pepper, to taste. If you prefer a sweeter taste, add ketchup, if desired, or a few coarsely chopped extra-ripe fresh tomatoes, when in season.

Continue to simmer for another hour or so, or until soup has reached the thickness desired and oxtail meat is falling-off-bone-tender. Add beef or vegetable broth if soup becomes too thick.

Stir in fresh parsley during final 20 minutes of cooking. Remove meat from bones and return it to soup. Skim off fat from top of soup. Remove bay leaf. Taste and adjust seasonings.

This is a versatile favorite that is just as much at home served as the first course of your July 4th picnic or barbecue as it is served by the fire on a wintry night.

In the Summertime, it's great to make on the side burner of your grill since it cooks over a low flame and doesn't take much gas when cooked in a Dutch oven and won't heat up the kitchen.

Submitted by: CM
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