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This is the recipe the brave Southern husband fears above all others.

It’s not that it isn’t a fabulous version of beef barley soup…it absolutely is. Thick and filled with chunks of tender, super-slow-cooked beef, pieces of carrot and onion, laced through with fresh parsley and fresh-ground pepper and just a hint of tomato flavor, this is my favorite soup in the entire world. It is the perfect classic beef barley, and even better, it cooks in the slow cooker, so you can toss it together in the morning, go to work, forget it completely, trudge home 10 hours later, walk in the door, smell that gorgeous beef barley soup smell, remember tossing it together early in the morning, and smile a huge smile.

So what is there to be afraid of?

Well, this recipe makes a LOT. I’m sure it’s possible to cut it down — I haven’t actually tried, though, because along with bacon and macaroni and cheese and pizza from the Mason Jar [1], this particular beef barley soup may just be my favorite food on earth. And the first time we have it, the Southern husband is just fine. He even takes on the hardest part of the recipe, which is chopping up the meat into the small bite-sized pieces. Our tummies are full of warm, scrumptious soup and life is good.

Then we have it again. He’s still pretty much okay.

Still about 600 servings to go. And he begins to break down. Because I guess there actually are some people in the world who don’t like to have wonderful beef barley soup for lunch and dinner for days and days in a row. Yes, I know I could freeze it…but the thing is, I personally DO like to have wonderful beef barley soup for lunch and dinner for days and days in a row. This is why they say opposites attract. So a while back we made a pact. He would not get That Look On His Face when I made it, and I would only make in the colder months, and not too many times in a row. Which led to the following conversation last week:

Me: I’m going to make the beef barley soup this week!!

Him: Already???

Me: It’s October! It’s cold out! We’ve already had FROST!

Him (in long-suffering patient voice): Okay….

But trust me, aside from the fact that it makes a swimming pool-sized portion, it is the best beef barley soup you will ever, ever make, taste or have giant vats of leftovers of. It’s at its best when eaten on a chilly night out of your favorite Peter Rabbit bowl (see picture below). But it’s not bad for breakfast, either….

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Beef Barley Soup
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds chuck roast, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 5 cups water
  • 4 packets beef boullion
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • ¾ cup pearl barley
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 5 carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
Instructions
  1. 1. Combine everything but carrots and parsley in slow cooker and stir to mix. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
  2. 2. Just before serving, put carrots in microwave-safe dish with about ⅛ cup water. Microwave for 4 minutes. Add carrots to soup with parsley.
  3. 3. Taste and adjust seasonings (I usually end up adding a bit more salt and pepper).
  4. 4. Serve. And serve. And serve.

 

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