Cooking the pearl barley a long time gives this soup a nutty flavor and smooth texture. It's very different from the chewy texture you get when cooking regular barley over a shorter period. I adapted this from an America's Test Kitchen recipe and used about half the beef they called for and added the mushrooms. If you have big beef eaters in your family, you may want to double the beef. This was good enough that I had it for dinner, lunch, and then dinner again successively. A great fall or winter treat!
Avg. 4.6/57 votes
Goes Well With: crusty artisan bread
Wine and Drink Pairings:
1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat or boneless beef chuck roast cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions chopped
2 carrots chopped into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup dry red wine
8 oz white or brown mushrooms quartered
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
4 cups beef stock or broth
4 cups chicken stock or broth
1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
2/3 cup pearl barley
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley or dill
Dry the beef with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high until hot. Brown the beef on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Put browned beef into slow cooker.
Add the remaining Tbsp of oil and reduce heat to medium. Add the onions and carrots and cook until they are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the wine and quartered mushrooms and scrape off any browned bits. Simmer until the wine has reduced by half, about 1-2 minutes, then pour all contents into the slow cooker.
Add the tomatoes with their juice, the broths, the thyme, and the pearl barley to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
Before serving, stir in the parsley or dill (we use Italian parsley), and season with salt and pepper to taste.