Beef, Vegetable and Barley Soup, a slow cooker recipe

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We were in the midst of a serious thunder and lightning storm last night! Wind and rain all day led to the storm that began about 11:00 pm. The house shuddered as the thunder clapped overhead, then the lightning struck and the sky was as bright as a flashbulb (remember them?) in your face. And hail, don't forget the hail that dropped, stopped and began again in concert with the thunder. 

Weather like that reminds me of soup. Well not soup exactly, but wrapped up in a blanket, safely on the couch watching as mother nature produces the featured event of the evening, with a mug of soup to sip and enjoy. This soup comes to mind.  

Beef, Vegetable and Barley Soup, a slow cooker recipe
Beef Barley and Vegetable Soup
The thing about soup is, there are a lot of vegetables in there, and no one seems to mind. Soup is a great way to get more vegetables in your family's meals. And if I do say so myself, the more vegetables the better!

Beef Barley and Vegetable SoupI like the vegetables cut uniform, that way you get a little of everything on your spoon. This beautiful quartet is added to the bottom of the 6 qt. crockpot.

Beef, Vegetable and Barley SoupLooks good already, but there is more, let's add some kale. The thing about kale is that you want to dice it into 1/2 inch or so because this prevents a long and thin ribbon of kale hanging off your spoon. And no hanging ribbons helps prevent drips....or maybe that's just me?

Beef Vegetable and Barley SoupMoving on, then, one bunch of kale, diced.

Soup is always welcome, especially on a chilly day. But you are not required to make it the same each time. The real beauty of soup is that it is the perfect dish to cook with what you have. 
Here is a guideline of what I used to make this soup, however soup is very easy to personalize. 
You can have some meat, lots of meat or no meat. 
You can use different vegetables, or (gasp!) no vegetables! 
You will notice that I do not put potatoes in the soup because I do not like the texture of them when the soup is thawed, after being frozen. 
But I do have a potato addition that I will share, you will find it at the bottom of the page.

Want to eat more vegetables, make this soup!

Beef Vegetable and Barley Soup

by the seat of my pants!
updated 02/2020

2 pounds lean ground beef, made into a large patty, sear on both sides, set aside to cool.
1 red onion, diced
4 stalks of celery, diced
1 red pepper, diced
5 carrots, diced
1 bunch kale, diced
1/3 - 1/2 c barley
1 T homemade bay leaf seasoning OR 2 Bay Leaves
2 - 3 cloves garlic minced
2 t salt
1 16 oz can petite diced tomatoes, do not drain
2 quarts of beef stock

Place diced vegetables in the bottom of the crockpot, sprinkle with the barley and seasonings.

When the large meat patty has cooled enough to handle, dice it into 3/4-1 inch pieces. Add the diced meat to the crockpot.

Add tomatoes and their liquid. Add stock to come within 1 inch of the top, cover and cook on high for 6 hours.

This process makes 6 quarts of meaty vegetable soup. This soup freezes well and will be enjoyed again for an easy dinner when your schedule is busy and time is tight.

Potato idea:  When we have baked potatoes, I always bake up more than we need for that meal. I like them pan-fried the next day. This is great for soup night. When you are having soup for dinner have a baked potato ready to pan fry, add that browned crispy fried potato to the bottom of the soup bowl, ladle on your soup. Delicious! I hope you give it a try!


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thrifty home feb.
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  1. Love the pictures of the of the fresh veggies.

  2. This looks so delicious! I haven't bought any barley in a very long time and I don't know why--we both really like it. I will be making this, thanks for a great recipe, Rocquie

    1. We love barley in our soup. It goes great with brown rice as well, sometimes I will use a 50/50 mix of barley and brown rice for a nice change of pace.


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