Spring is here. At least, according to the calendar, it is. In reality, not so much, In the past week alone, Ohio has seen just about every weather event possible, from a nearly 80-degree day, sunshine, rain, thunderstorms, tornados, snow, sleet….you get the picture. It may be April, but some days still feel like February, and on those days comfort food is craved.
When it is cold outside, we use the Crock-Pot…a lot. Hubby and I will usually pick a recipe that we can both agree on, double it, and let it cook up. More times than not, this makes enough to last us throughout the entire week for dinner. We just turn the Crock-Pot on each morning to the ‘warm’ setting and when we get home from work, dinner is ready to go. By the time the next weekend hits, its time to start planning for our next crock pot meal.
This past weekend, we decided to make a soup. As much as we enjoy cheesy soups, we wanted it to be something somewhat healthy and broth based. After all, summer is close and time is running out to shed the last little bit of winter weight that somehow just appeared overnight. We weren’t really in the mood for chicken noodle or anything heavy like chili. When we stumbled upon a Beef and Barley soup, it stood out right away and the ingredients made their way onto our shopping list.
This soup is hearty without feeling too heavy and the flavor is perfect, just getting better after each day of reheating. It is loaded with vegetables and is easy to alter to one’s specific tastes. Because we doubled the recipe and didn’t want to spend $25 on a roast, we used lean ground beef instead. We browned it in the skillet before starting the soup in the Crock-Pot. Even with the modification, the soup is still packed full of flavor and really hits the spot on colder days.
Crock Pot Beef and Barley Soup
Recipe From: Delish
1 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
In a large mixing bowl, pat beef dry with paper towels. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Preheat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Drizzle with olive oil and sear meat on all sides until golden brown with a crust, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer meat to the slow cooker. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic, onions, carrots and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Scrape the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen all browned meat bits and cook 3 to 4 minutes. If needed, add a splash of water to fully deglaze the pan; transfer to slow cooker.
Add mushrooms, barley, stock and soy sauce; cook on low for 8 hours. Meat should be very tender.