In the winter months, there is nothing better than a hearty winter stew to warm your cold bones but honestly, the last thing I really feel like after a long cold and stressful day at work is slaving over the stove to cook a stew.
That is where my true love of slow cookers comes in, there is nothing easier than throwing a bunch of ingredients into a pot, turning it on the low setting and coming home to a delicious smelling house and a meal ready to eat.
One of my favourite crockpot stews is Beef and Barley as it is so easy to make, it tastes amazing, uses cheap cuts of meat and can be stretch to feed a lot of hungry mouths which is great for the budget conscious.
Below is my crockpot Beef and Barley stew, this is one of those recipes that you can really through just about any vegetable in, especially the ones sitting in your fridge on their way out and it will still taste spectacular. I had some spinach in desperate need of cooking so threw the last of the bag in and it just added to the bulk of the stew.
While I was perusing Pinterest looking for recipe idea’s for my meal plan the other night I came across The Recipe Rebel and her recipe for Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Stew. Our recipes are almost identical but her recipe called for balsamic vinegar and fresh parsley added once the slow cooker has finished for extra flavour. I decided to follow her lead and add it to my stew and what a difference it makes! It certainly adds an extra punch of flavour, head on over to her blog and take a peek at the wonderful recipes she has.
Crockpot Beef and Barley Stew
A quick and easy hearty winter meal perfect for those nights you don't feel like cooking.
- 500g Rump Steak diced (don’t remove the fat)*
- 1 x 140g tub tomato paste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 carrots washed and sliced**
- 3 celery stalks washed and sliced
- 2 tbsps minced garlic
- 1/2 tbsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 4 bay leaves
- 6 cups beef stock
- 3/4 cup rinsed pearl barley
- 3 tbsps balsamic vinegar
- 1 bunch chopped fresh parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- vegetables on their way out (I used spinach)
- Turn the crockpot on to HIGH and allow to heat up.
- Dice meat and liberally season with salt and pepper, then place in the hot crockpot with olive oil and seal the meat.***
- Once the meat is browned turn the setting down to low and add the tomato paste, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, beef stock, basil, rosemary, pearl barley, spinach and any other vegetables you wish to use.
- Place the cover on the crockpot and leave on the low setting to cook for 8 hours.
- Right before serving add the balsamic vinegar and parsley, stir and then serve evenly between 8.
* Leave the fat on the beef as this will help create more flavour and will eventually cook down.
**Leave the skin on the carrots, it speeds up the cooking time and is healthier for you. Just make sure you wash the carrots well.
***When cooking meat in a crockpot I always like to heat the crockpot up prior and brown the meat in the crockpot itself, this way all the oil and meat juices are already in the pot and you don’t waste any.
Well there you have one of my all-time favourite Winter meals, as I am normally only cooking for 3 each night I like to pour the remaining 5 serves into individual ziplock bags, lay them flat and freeze to take for lunches throughout the rest of winter or as a last minute dinner option.
What are your thoughts on Crockpots? Leave me a comment and let me know if you give this recipe a try.