Start this soup in the morning or mid-day to allow time for the meat to cook.
2 lbs. meaty short ribs, or substitute with shin of beef, bone removed and cut into a few large
1 c. pearl barley
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 med. onion, chopped
2 leeks, trimmed and washed
2 c. (about one 8 oz. pack) of white or a mixture of mushrooms
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 c. water or beef stock, and a little extra if needed
Pecorino cheese, optional
Place short ribs, garlic, and onion in the bottom of the pot. Cut leeks lengthwise into quarters, then chop into small pieces using both white and green parts. Add them to the pot. Slice mushrooms, rinse barley with water then add these ingredients to the pot too. Cover with stock. Add a few grinds of black pepper and about a 1 tsp. salt. Turn on the heat, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer on the back burner for about 3 hours. You can partially cover the soup with a lid, stir occasionally and add extra broth, if needed.
Before serving, skim off the fat, take the meat off the bones, slice it, and put it back in the soup or place in individual bowls. Taste for salt.
Optional: You can grate a little pecorino cheese over the top, if you like.