Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Soup

The barley, cooked over a long period of time, adds a velvety texture as well as a nutty flavor to the soup.

  • Ready in1
  • YieldServes 6-8
  • Cuisine
    • American
  • Course
    • Main Course
    • Soup
  • Cooking Method
    • slow cooker
  • 1 boneless beef chuck roast (3 lbs), trimmed & cut into 1/2” pieces
  • Salt and pepper2 onions, chopped medium
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped medium
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 4 cup low sodium beef broth
  • 4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried
  • 2/3 cup pearl barley
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves



Dry the beef w paper towels, then season w salt and pepper. Heat 2 tsp of the oil in a 12” skillet over med high heat until just smoking. Brown half of the beef, about 10 min, then add to the slow cooker.


Add the remaining 2 tsp oil to the empty skillet and heat over med heat until shimmering. Add the onions, carrots, and 1/4 tsp salt. Cook until the veggies are softened, about 5 min. Stir in the wine, scraping up any browned bits. Simmer until the wine has reduced by half, about 1 minute, then pour into the slow cooker.


Add the tomatoes with their juice, the broths, and barley to the slow cooker. Cover and cook, on either low or high, until the beef is tender (6-7 hrs on low or 4-5 hrs on high). Before serving, stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.



I like the “Make Ahead’ process. Also, if you have a nice butcher, ask him or her to cut up the chuck roast. I also prefer the dry thyme to fresh, since it seems to more evenly flavor the soup. If you use sea salt, hold back a bit. 

Try substituting 2 tbsp minced fresh dill for the parsley.

To Make Ahead


The night before (or a day in advance), prepare the recipe through step 2. Instead of adding the ingredients to the slow cooker, refrigerate them overnight (browned meat in one container, and veggies and wine in another). In the morning, add the chilled ingredients to the slow cooker, then add the tomatoes with their juice, the broths, thyme, and barley to the slow cooker. Proceed with step 3. The cooking time will run to the high end of the range given in the recipe. 

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