Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Fire up the crock pot--"spring" semester has begun!

Spring semester is off and running...and it feels like it's running right over me! It's only Wednesday of the first week, and I'm already WIPED! I guess it's going to take a little time to get my groove back. In the meantime, the only salvation may be my trusty crock pot.

Before I went to bed last night, I prepped a crock of beef, barley and vegetable soup, then chucked it into the fridge overnight. This morning, I put the crock of soup into the heated part of the pot, turned it on low, and went about my day. Six hours later, and it was just about perfect. But I had a bag of baby kale, spinach, and chard in the fridge, so I chopped up a couple of handfuls of the dark leafies to add some extra color and nutrition and threw them in to wilt while I got on with the grilling of the cheese sammies. SO DELICIOUS! Why do I not make beef barley soup more often, especially when the crock pot makes it so easy?

Crock Pot Beef, Barley and Vegetable Soup
(Source: Adapted from Simple, Nourished Living)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound beef chuck roast, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
1 medium to large onion, diced
8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
2 or 3 medium carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
2 cloves garlic, minced (or 4!)
1/2 cup red wine
6 cups beef broth
1 can (14.5 ounce] diced tomatoes, with their juices (I used Italian-style)
1/2 cup uncooked pearled barley
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
more salt and pepper, to taste

In a large skillet, heat one tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Dry off the meat with paper towels and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the meat to the pan and brown on all sides. Transfer to a 5 or 6 quart slow cooker.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet, and cook the onions, mushrooms, carrots, celery, and thyme, stirring often, until the vegetables begin to color and soften. Stir in the garlic and cook another minute. Add the wine and reduce a bit, scraping the fond from the bottom of the pan.

Add the veg mixture to the slow cooker. Pour in the beef broth, canned tomatoes, and dry barley. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 to 8 hours. Garnish with fresh parsley OR wilt some chopped, dark, leafy greens into the soup at the end of the cooking time (e.g. spinach, kale, and/or Swiss chard). Season with salt and pepper as desired.


Martha said...

Joy, your soup looks delicious! Glad I could provide the boilerplate from which to create your magic.

Anonymous said...

You are the queen of soup! I love this one too!
The smell was making me drool . It was so easy to make and my husband didn't mind running to the grocery store to pick up the celery l forgot to buy. I used 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne and next time l will likely have to cut back to 1/8 to suit my family's tastes. Thanks for another keeper.
Kelly from Canada

Anonymous said...

I posted my comments under the wrong barley soup...l made the Crockpot Ground Beef and Barley Soup! Kelly