SLOW COOKER BEEF BARLEY SOUP
- 2 pounds stew meat (nicely marbled beef chunks)
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 10 cups water
- 3 mounded tablespoons good quality beef base*
- 3 stalks celery (about 2 cups), chopped
- 2 onions, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large potato, peeled and shredded, about 2 cups
- 3-4 large carrots, peeled and shredded, about 2 cups
- 1 cup barley, rinsed
- Generously salt and pepper the beef. In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
- When it is very hot, add about 1/3 of the meat. Brown for about 1-2 minutes, then turn to brown the other side. Remove to a plate when it is browned on all sides.
- Repeat with remaining meat in 2 more batches. (If you add it all at once it will steam the meat instead of browning it–not what you want.)
- When all the meat is browned, add all the meat back to the pot with 10 cups of water. Add 3 healthy tablespoons beef stock concentrate.
- Add the chopped celery, onions, and garlic. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 2 hours with the lid on.
- When the meat is tender and you can break it apart easily with a wooden spoon, add the shredded potato and carrots. Bring to a boil, then continue to simmer on low for another 30-45 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.
- Add 1 cup of barley. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low. Cook for another half hour, or until barley is tender and the soup tastes…like home.
- In a large pan, brown the meat according to the instructions. Remove the browned meat to a large crockpot.
- Add 2 cups of the water to the pan and bring to a boil. Stir up all the browned bits. Add this and the remaining 8 cups of water to the crock pot.
- Add the beef base, celery, onions, and garlic to the slow cooker and stir.
- Cook on low for about 6 hours. Add the potatoes and carrots and cook for another hour.
- Add the barley and simmer for another hour or so, until it is tender.
*I suggest Better than Bullion Beef Base.
The simmer times on this soup are pretty rough. I let mine simmer all morning because I was feeling a lazy-soup-day. The best kind of day for October.
If your meat is not marbled well, you might want to add a bit of worcestershire sauce toward the end, to boost the flavor.
If your soup has boiled down to become more stew-like, simply add more water and beef base.
** I’ve had some questions about the green garnish I used for these photos. It’s basil, but that’s just what was growing in my garden when I made this. No garnish is necessary, but I would recommend parsley or chives if you want a fresh kick.