tomato beef barley stew

Oh the weather outside  

Yes, it's been fiercely snowing and blowing all the middle of April.  So much, in fact, that I couldn't even see the two steps in my sidewalk.  I guess I should have expected it, since we live in Edmonton and all...when the weather is like this I think you need comfort food, something that warms up your stomach and helps you forget that you have to shovel the sidewalk (yet again).

Why not haul out your slow-cooker and let a pot of stew simmer away all day while you're at work?  This recipe is really tasty.  It's got a different flavour than a traditional beef-barley soup, it's more tomatoe-y and definitely thicker, but the beef cooks up wonderfully tender.  You could probably add more vegetables too if your slow-cooker is bigger than mine. 

Tomato Beef Barley Stew

  • 1 - 28oz can of whole or diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium sized onions, minced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp fresh minced thyme
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup pearl barley
  • 2 lbs blade steak, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1/2 inch pieces and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet then add the onions, tomato paste, thyme and a pinch of salt.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the onions are soft and lightly browned.  While the onion mixture is cooking, put the tomatoes in the food processor (with the juice) and blend until smooth.

Once the onions are cooked, add the wine and scrape all the browned bits off the bottom of the pan.  Add the onion-wine mixture to the slow cooker.  Stir in the tomatoes, beef broth, chicken stock, soy sauce, carrots, barley and beef.  Give the soup a stir, then cover the slow cooker.  I like to put my slow cooker on top of a cookie sheet with sides, just in-case some boils over.

Cook on low for 9-11 hours or cook on high for 5-7 hours.  Before serving, let the soup settle then skim off as much fat as possible.  Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen: More Best Recipes