Hearty beef and bean soup

This is one of our regular winter soup recipes. The important thing is to simmer it gently for the whole day to bring out that meat-bone heartiness, so you will need a slow cooker, or a slow stove plate and a heavy pot with a solid lid.


  • 1 cup of dried Red Beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 large or 2 small onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 4 to 6 beef soup bones or shins
  • 1 large or 2 smaller carrots
  • 1 diced potato
  • 1 x 410 gram tinned tomato
  • 1 chopped celery rib
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1 litre stock - we use homemade chicken stock)
  • Fresh herbs - we use rosemary, thyme, parsley, and a bay leave


  1. Soak 1 cup of dried red beans overnight. In the morning, rinse 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 soup 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 tinned can of tomato, the pearl barley, and red lentils to the slow cooker.
  9. Add 1 litre of stock (we use home made chicken 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 loosing it's leaves.

By the end of the day you will have a hearty, thick soup. It is ready when the meat fall off the bones.