Slow Cooker Beef with Barley Soup Recipe

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7 votes | 6231 views

Cooking the pearl barley a long time gives this soup a nutty flavor and smooth texture. It's very different from the chewy texture you get when cooking regular barley over a shorter period. I adapted this from an America's Test Kitchen recipe and used about half the beef they called for and added the mushrooms. If you have big beef eaters in your family, you may want to double the beef. This was good enough that I had it for dinner, lunch, and then dinner again successively. A great fall or winter treat!

Prep time:
Cook time:
Servings: 6-8


Cost per serving $2.90 view details


  1. Dry the beef with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high until hot. Brown the beef on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Put browned beef into slow cooker.
  2. Add the remaining Tbsp of oil and reduce heat to medium. Add the onions and carrots and cook until they are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the wine and quartered mushrooms and scrape off any browned bits. Simmer until the wine has reduced by half, about 1-2 minutes, then pour all contents into the slow cooker.
  3. Add the tomatoes with their juice, the broths, the thyme, and the pearl barley to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
  4. Before serving, stir in the parsley or dill (we use Italian parsley), and season with salt and pepper to taste.
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Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving %DV
Serving Size 599g
Recipe makes 6 servings
Calories 299  
Calories from Fat 105 35%
Total Fat 11.84g 15%
Saturated Fat 3.37g 13%
Trans Fat 0.12g  
Cholesterol 18mg 6%
Sodium 1309mg 55%
Potassium 787mg 22%
Total Carbs 33.7g 9%
Dietary Fiber 7.2g 24%
Sugars 5.02g 3%
Protein 13.05g 21%



  • Nancy Miyasaki
    October 25, 2010
    This is a great, hearty soup for cold fall or winter weather.
    I've cooked/tasted this recipe!
    • Michelle
      October 27, 2010
      Wow.. this was so yummy. I thought I was going to have leftovers for it looked like it made alot but no way...all gone. at the end of cooking I did a last stir when I thought why not add a can of beans to the mix, so I added a can of rinsed white beans. I did not have to cook any longer cause they were already soft. I'm sure it would be great with any kind of can bean that you want to add....
      I've cooked/tasted this recipe!
      This is a variation
      1 reply
      • John Spottiswood
        October 28, 2010
        Thanks for the thoughtful review and great suggestion on adding the beans. That would make it even more healthy!
      • Ufolie
        February 13, 2011
        Excellent slow cooker recipe. Instead of canned diced tomatoes, I used my home made tomato sauce (which was already seasoned with basil, garlic, oregano, tarragon, thyme, parsley and black pepper).
        I've cooked/tasted this recipe!
        This is a variation
        1 reply
        • John Spottiswood
          February 14, 2011
          Thanks for the detailed review, Ufolie. Glad you enjoyed it!


        • patricia ciasullo
          November 7, 2010
          i am making this recipe for the second time! i made two adjustments for our tastes. the first was to substitute ale for the wine and one tablespoon of tomato paste for the tomatoes. it worked perfectly for us since we prefer the taste of the ale with the meat and the tomato paste added a smoother flavour to the soup.will be sure to follow more of your recipes. thank you.
          1 reply
          • John Spottiswood
            November 12, 2010
            You sound like a very capable tinkerer, Patricia. I'd like to try your version as well. If you get a chance to add a rating to this comment (just click on a number of hearts), it will help others decide whether or not to try it. Thanks for the helpful review!
          • patricia ciasullo
            October 27, 2010
            looks like it will be a wonderful meal. look forward to making it and following your posts.
            1 reply

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