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Beef and Barley Soup (Slow Cooker)


This recipe is ever so adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution. Don’t own a slow cooker? No worries. Just let it simmer low and slow for a couple of hours, and you’ll have a hearty beef and tomato broth with tender cuts of meat and barley. For step-by-step photos on how to make this, please visit my blog.

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  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable (or olive) oil
  • 3 onions, minced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh thyme (or 3/4 tsp. dried)
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes*
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped medium
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup pearl barley**
  • 2 pounds beef blade steak (I used chuck-eye roast, which is my preference)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • if you like less tomato flavor, either decrease the crushed tomatoes by half or a small can of tomato sauce
  • I doubled the barley, and am glad that I did


Adapted from


Step 1

Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, tomato paste, and thyme and cook until onions are softened and lightly browned, 8-10 minutes. Stir in wine, scraping up any browned bits; transfer to slow cooker.

Stir tomatoes, beef broth, chicken broth, carrots, soy sauce, and barley into slow cooker. Season beef with salt and pepper and nestle into slow cooker. Cover and cook* until beef is tender, 9-11 hours on low or 5-7 hours on high.

Transfer beef*** to cutting board, let cool slightly, then shred into bite-sized pieces. Let soup settle for 5 minutes, then remove fat from surface using large spoon.

Stir in shredded beef** and let sit until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley, season with salt and pepper and serve.

**I have a removable slow cooker insert, so I covered it and refrigerated it the night before. In the morning, before work, I turned on the slow cooker.

***Since I used chuck-eye roast, and cut it into bite-sized pieces, I did not find this step necessary.

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