BEEF BARLEY SOUP: COMFORT IN A CROCK POT
Who says chicken soup is the best food to eat when you aren’t feeling your best? Now I now it does have some magical ingredient that apparently does help recover from a cold, but still. When we want something soothing, mild and comforting, I’ll pick this soup instead. Beef Barley soup is one of the favorites in my family.
A slow cooker is an ideal way to make soup, especially this recipe. You toss in the ingredients, set it on low, and forget about it until dinner time. There isn’t much more pleasant than the aroma of soup cooking all day long. It smells so good, you might have to sample it during the day to see how it is doing.
Use any beef you have on hand, from steak or roast to stew meat. Cut it into small bite size pieces. If I use stew meat, I cut that smaller too, either in half or quarters. The chopped mushrooms and onions add flavor, and the barley is so filling. Barley is also a healthier alternative than noodles. You can add more meat or less if you prefer. The same with the vegetables.
Usually I make it without the spinach, but since I add spinach to nearly everything now, I did with the soup this time too. It was delicious and more colorful besides. Just remember to put it in at the last minute—even into the served bowls will give it time enough to wilt.
Once we’ve eaten, there is plenty left to freeze so it will be on hand for additional meals. It freezes beautifully. Just thaw and heat—I use the microwave. Your meal can be ready in minutes.
The pot should serve 6 to 8 easily.
- ½ pound of lean steak, any cut
- 1 cup barley
- ½ chopped onion
- 8 oz sliced cremini mushrooms
- 2 cans beef broth (you can use more bouillon instead if you wish)
- 2 cubes beef bouillon
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 to 6 cups of water as preferred
- 2 cups or more of fresh spinach
- Thinly slice the steak into little bite size pieces.
- Put all ingredients into crock pot.
- Add water until crock pot is ⅔ full.
- Cook 8 to 10 hours on low.
- Dish into bowls, then stir in spinach just before serving.
- Serve with rolls or corn bread.