Without question, my favorite food season is Fall. Soups, stews, all things that cook all day and make my house smell like a food dream. Things served with bread….lots of bread and lotsa butta…
I don’t use my slow cooker enough. I find that most of the dishes come out a bit opaque and over cooked. Thats why I love this recipe. The beef actually needs all that slow cooking time to become tender and delicious! And look how vibrant the colors are, even after a long time in a hot tub!
How to make Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup!
We started with stew meat that I cut into small 1/2 inch pieces. This is soup, not stew so I wanted the pieces small. We deepened the flavor by browning it in a skillet before tossing the meat in the slow cooker.
Do I have to brown the beef before adding to the slow cooker?
- Browning is not required, you could add the meat to the pot uncooked and get a good soup. But we like the depth of flavor it adds. Up to you and how much time you have!
Can I make this soup on the stove top in stead of the slow cooker?
- A resounding yes! I have made it both ways. It still requires a bit of time. About 2 hours. Simply follow the recipe and leave on the stove top to simmer until the beef is tender.
Chop your veggies and toss into the pot with the stew meat. Again we kept the pieces on the small side so it felt like a soup.
At this point you just dump everything else in! Veggies, barley, broth and seasoning…boom!
What kind of beef should I use for this Beef Barley Soup?
- Due to the long cook time, cheap and cheerful will work. We like Chuck, Chuck Shoulder, Chuck Roast, Chuck-Eye Roast, Top Chuck. Chuck is your guy for this stew :). It has a bit of fat marbling for tons of flavor.
Mushrooms help deepen the flavor of the beef stock but if you are not a fan, simply leave them out.
Now just turn on your slow cooker and let it do all the work for you while you go binge watch Mad Men (my latest bing worthy show). Soon, very soon your house will smell like a dream!
We love this Slow Cooker...it even has a browning option!
And while the slow cooker is slow cooking…you could whip up a batch of our one rise, easiest rolls ever! Grab the butta! You mix the dough and shape. This crazy method makes the most delicious and easy rolls! Simply mix the dough, shape and let rise in the oven at 170 degrees and without even removing these beauties from the oven, crank up the heat and finish cooking. Doesn’t get much easier than that!
You might also like this Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon. Sounds fancy, but it’s just beef stew with red wine. A little for the pot…a little for the cook…hiccup!
To dusting off that slow cooker!
This hearty beef and barley soup can be made stove top or slow cooker! It has a rich meaty flavor and takes only a few minutes to get into the pot!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds cubed stew meat - I used chuck roast
- 1 cup onion - diced
- 1 cup carrots - diced
- 1 cup mushrooms - sliced
- 3 cloves garlic - minced
- 1/3 cup tomato paste
- 6 cups beef broth
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2/3 cup uncooked pearl barley
- salt and pepper to taste
In large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil until shimmery but not smoking. About a minute.
Sprinkle beef pieces with salt and pepper. Add to hot skillet leaving undisturbed for 2-3 minutes until a brown crust forms. Turn beef over and sear the other side. (you may have to do this in two batches depending on the size of your pan).
Add seared beef to slow cooker. (or large dutch oven or soup pot if cooking stove top).
Chop carrots, onions, mushrooms and garlic. Add to pot with beef.
Add tomato paste, barley and beef broth and Worcestershire sauce to beef and veggie mixture. Top with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. (You can finish with seasoning when soup is done.)
Cook in slow cooker for 4-5 hours on low or 2-3 hours on high. If using stove top method, simmer 2-3 hours, or until beef is tender and veggies are cooked.
Taste for seasoning and serve!
4 Weight Watcher Freestyle Points per serving (about 1 1/2 cups).
Other Tips for this Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup:
- You can make this Beef Barley Soup on the stove top. Simply follow the recipe without adding it to the slow cooker. Simmer for 2 hours or until the meat is tender.
- Chop your veggies and toss into the pot with the stew meat. We kept the pieces on the small side so it felt like a soup.
- Browning is not required, you could add the meat to the pot uncooked, and get a good soup, but we like the depth of flavor it adds. Up to you and how much time you have!
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