Braised Short Ribs with Barley
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 pounds bone-in short ribs
— Kosher salt
— Black pepper in a mill
1 yellow onion, diced
1 large garlic bulb, cloves separate but not peeled
3 cups dry red wine
3 cups beef stock
2 bay leaves
4 whole cloves
2 cups pearled barley, preferably organic, soaked in water overnight, drained
¼ cup minced fresh Italian parsley
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Pour the olive oil into a large deep oven-proof pot set over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add several short ribs and brown them on all sides; it will take 8 to 10 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper, transfer the browned ribs to a platter and continue until all are browned. Sauté the onion in the same pot until it is soft and fragrant, about 12 minutes; season with salt and pepper, add the whole garlic cloves and sauté, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
Return the short ribs to the pot, add the red wine, beef stock, thyme, bay, cloves and just enough water to cover the meat. Increase the heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil. Cover, transfer to the oven and cook for 2 hours. Turn the meat once during cooking. Remove the lid and continue to cook until the meat is very tender and buttery, about 30 to 45 minutes more.
An hour before serving, prepare the barley. Pour 5 cups of water into a large saucepan, add 1 tablespoon kosher salt and bring to a boil over high heat. When the water boils, stir in the barley and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the barley until it is plump and tender but not mushy, about 45 minutes. Check the barley now and then to be sure it has not absorbed all the water; if it has, add hot water, 2 tablespoons at a time. Do not let the barley burn. When it is done, remove it from the heat and let stand, covered for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a serving bowl.
To serve, use tongs to transfer the short ribs to a serving platter. Cover with aluminum foil. Use a ladle to transfer 4 cups of the cooking liquid to a small saucepan, set over high heat, and reduce by half. Taste and correct for salt and pepper.
Spoon some of the reduced juices over the meat, some over the barley, and pour the rest into a small serving dish. Sprinkle the parsley over the meat and the barley and enjoy right away.