This gently seasoned beef and barley mushroom soup is a cold weather classic. The simple ingredients come together to form a comforting, glistening and nutritious dish that will fill your home with aromas like what you remember from grandma’s kitchen.
A bit about texture: Barley absorbs liquid. It’s just a fact of barley soup life that you’ll need to add hot liquid (slowly) to achieve the right texture when serving. This soup is rich enough that using a few tablespoons of water will not effect the flavor.
Note: Do not open slow cooker while it’s simmering. When a lid is cracked it loses 20-25 minutes of valuable cooking time. Try and resist!
⅔ cup barley
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 lb. beef stew or flanken (cubed or in chunks), rinsed and patted dry
2 medium onions, chopped
8 oz. portobello mushrooms, quartered
4 oz. shitake mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
6 carrots, washed or scraped and chopped
4 celery stalks, washed and chopped
2 bay leaves
6 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped (reserve 1-2 Tb. for garnish)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
3 cartons beef broth (32 oz. each)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (better to salt after cooking as some broths are salty)
Soak barley in cold water 2-3 hours or overnight. Rinse and drain. Place in slow cooker insert.
Heat oil in large saute or caste iron pan. DO NOT use non-stick surface.
Brown chunks of beef 6-8 minutes on each side, allowing space between each piece.
Place in slow cooker insert.
In the same pan (do not wipe it out) brown onions until golden, 12-15 minutes.
Add all mushrooms, stir and cook over medium heat for another 5-10 minutes.
Add garlic and sauté 5 minutes.
Place all of the above into slow cooker insert.
Add chopped carrots, celery, bay leaves, dill, tomato paste and broth. Season with salt and ground pepper.
Stir to combine well and set slow cooker to LOW and cook for 8 hours.
Remove bay leaves and ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with reserved chopped dill.