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Crock It! Beef And Barley Soup


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As far as I’m concerned, the cooler weather means soup. Given the choice, this is what I’d much rather have for lunch than my usual options of macaroni and cheese or whatever kind of sandwich my kids are having. I haven’t made a beef soup in a while so this was fun for me and let me just say really easy. We had it for dinner along with a loaf of fresh bread. It was great on an early fall night.

Beef and Barley Soup


  • 1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 medium onions, minced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 Cup barley
  • 2 lbs. blade steak, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cCup minced fresh parsley leaves

What’s next:

  1. Process the tomatoes with their juice in a food processor until smooth, about 15 seconds, and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high  heat until shimmering.
  3. Add the onions, tomato paste, thyme and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 10-12 minutes.
  4. Stir in the wine, scraping up any browned bits.
  5. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker and stir in the processed tomatoes, broths, carrots, soy sauce, and barley until evenly combined.
  6. Season the meat with salt and pepper and nestle it in the slow cooker.
  7. Cover and cook until the meat is tender: 9-11 hours on low or 5-7 hours on high.
  8. When done cooking, let the cooking liquid settle for 5 minutes, then gently tilt the slow cooker and remove as much fat as possible from the surface using a large spoon.
  9. Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper before serving.

Notes from my experience:
I love this recipe for two reasons. The first: It does not require precooking the meat. The second is that is was very forgiving. For reasons unknown, I did not have tomato paste or red wine. The flavor was still delicious and everyone ate it.

The only item I intentionally left out was barley. I have texture issues and barley is just one of those foods I do not eat. I used orzo instead, but it really didn’t hold up that well the following days. I would suggest a short grain rice instead if you don’t want to use barley.

One final thing– I find lifting a hot piece of stoneware to remove fat difficult. When I served this soup, the fat was clearly there in the soup, but not in a way or an amount that made it inedible. I refrigerated the leftover soup and scraped off the fat when it was cold. Much easier and works well if you are making a meal a day ahead and have time to refrigerate.

Recipe courtesy of The Best Slow & Easy Recipes from the editors of Cook’s Illustrated.

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