Hearty beef and bean soup

The important thing about this is it needs to cook for 8-10 hours – so you need a slow cooker, or in my case a stock pot and a slow cook setting on your oven.

  • You need to plan this a bit in advance as, besides the long cook time, the red beans have to be soaked for several hours, and boiled for 10 mins before adding to the pot.
  • When I am in a rush in the morning I just throw all the ingredients in the pot without all the browning off, and put it in the oven – it comes out just as well


  • 4 to 6 beef bones or shins
  • 1 cup of dried Red Beans, soaked overnight
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1 large or 2 small onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large or 2 smaller carrots
  • 1 diced potato
  • 1 chopped celery rib
  • 1 x 400g tin tomato
  • 1 litre stock
  • Fresh herbs – ie  rosemary, thyme, parsley, and a bay leave


  1. rinse the soaked beans well in a sieve under running water.
  2. Transfer to a saucepan, fill it with boiling water, and boil rapidly for 10 minutes. Rinse beans well. (This gets rid of the toxins in the beans.)
  3. Place beans in slow cooker.
  4. Fry onion in a pan, with a drizzle of olive oil, until translucent.
  5. Add garlic cloves and fry for a minute. Add to slow cooker.
  6. Fry your beef bones or shins in the pan until well browned. Add to slow cooker.
  7. Add 2 cups of warm water to the pan and simmer. After about 5 minutes, add the water to the slow cooker.
  8. Add diced carrots, potato and celery, the tin of tomato, the pearl barley and red lentils to the slow cooker.
  9. Add 1 litre of stock
  10. Place a twig each of rosemary, thyme and parsley on top, as well as a bay leave or two.
  11. Put the slow cooker on auto for the whole day.
  12. If you’re at home during the day, you can give it a stir or two every now and then. You may want to remove the herb twigs when the rosemary starts losing its leaves.

By the end of the day you will have a hearty, thick soup.


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