Beef Barley Vegetable Soup
In a slow cooker, cook chuck roast until very tender (usually 4 to 5 hours on High, but can vary with different slow cookers). Add barley and bay leaf during the last hour of cooking. Remove meat, and chop into bite-size pieces. Discard bay leaf. Set beef, broth, and barley aside.
Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Saute carrots, celery, onion, and frozen mixed vegetables until tender. Add water, beef bouillon cubes, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, chopped stewed tomatoes, and beef/barley mixture. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer 10 to 20 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
To make this recipe on the stovetop, cut the beef into bite-sized pieces. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the beef cubes and cook until browned on all sides, stirring frequently. Remove the meat and set aside. Reduce the heat to medium, add the remaining tablespoon of vegetable oil, and stir in the carrots, celery, and onion. Cook until the onion is translucent and the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the water, bouillon, bay leaf, tomatoes, barley, sugar, and pepper; bring to a simmer. Stir in the beef cubes and simmer, covered, until the beef is tender and the barley is fully cooked, about 2 hours. Add the frozen vegetables in the last half hour of the cooking time.
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