This past weekend I visited my parents, to cap off my spring break with a little r&r in the country. To my dismay, I came to find that both my parents were feeling under the weather. Since I had been sick in February, my cough has gone from person to person in my family and among the people I love. Feeling very guilty, and seeing my Dad reach for a can of condensed soup, I decided to make him my homemade version of the same soup. Of course my version is much more healthy and hearty, which is why I called mine a stew.
2 lbs boneless beef chuck steak
1 cup pearl barley
1 small container baby bella mushrooms
4 celery stalks
5 large carrots
4 cups beef broth (I used low sodium broth because it was for my parents, but I would use the regular broth for myself.)
a splash of soy sauce
a pinch of salt
a pinch of pepper
1 large sprig of thyme (or a couple sprigs)
1 cup water (optional, if you would like more of a stock to form)
I put the beef at the bottom of my crock pot and chopped all the veggies coarsely. I left the celery, carrots, leeks, and mushrooms in fairly large chunks. Once the veggies were chopped, I put them and all the other ingredients into my crock pot. I put the thyme at the top. Then, I set my crock pot for 8 hours on low. After 5 hours, I gave everything a good mix, except for the beef which I left untouched.
When I served the stew, I had to cut a little fat off of the beef, but did not have to cut the beef itself. It was tender and falling apart. The whole dish was so delicious and required almost no work. I was able to lounge around with my parents, munch out, and cap my spring break off right.