Tonight's main dish is Beef, Barley and Vegetable Soup. The version we're having tonight uses browned carne picada leftover from last night. It's in the slow cooker now and already smells great! I'd love to have some homemade bread sticks or hot water cornbread with it but those are just too high in carbs, especially since the soup has barley and potato in it. Instead, we'll have it with a nice salad and freshly made dressing.
So, here's how I make Denise's Slow Cooked Beef, Barley, and Vegetable Soup:
1 cup beef (ground beef, stew beef, and carne picada all work well), browned
1/4 cup barley (I normally use regular but am using quick cooking in this)
1 cup beef stock or beef bouillon dissolved in hot water
2 cups Ro-tel tomatoes or other tomatoes (V8 juice is great, too)
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 or 5 carrots, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
red potatoes, chopped (turnips can be used, too)
1 or 2 seasonal squash, chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen green beans
chopped garlic to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
juice of one large lemon (this is a great salt substitute in soups/stews but use salt if you prefer)
Any other vegetables languishing in the fridge
Put all ingredients** in the slow cooker and cook on Low for about 8 hours or on High for 5 hours.
**Since I'm using quick cooking barley it won't go in until about an hour before the cooking time is up but if I use regular barley, it goes in at the beginning.
This is a very hearty, stick-to-your-ribs soup and the leftovers are great for lunch the next day. If you don't care to eat the leftover soup as is, thicken it with a little corn starch or flour for a great pot pie filling or just top the thickened soup with cheese and garlic mashed potatoes. Yumm!