It has finally started feeling like Autumn, sunny but with a crisp chill in the air. I have been wanting to try out some new soup recipes and it is now time to do just that. This recipe is from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, the tome I turn to most often when I want to make something tasty. I was glad that I made this recipe because it turned out to be very tasty indeed! It has a beef stew-type flavor but is not quite as heavy. Simply delicious!
I had to go out and purchase a new slow-cooker for this recipe because the 5-quart size I received as a wedding gift 13+ years ago wasn't big enough. I found a 7-quart Rival Crock Pot at Kmart for $30 (plus there is a $5 rebate!). It isn't one of those fancy-dancy programmable pots that you can find nowadays, but I figure that the less it has going on, the less likely it is to break. It made an excellent pot of soup and that's good enough for me!
To make the soup, first trim and cut up a 3-pound chuck roast into 1/2-inch pieces. Dry the meat with paper towels and salt and pepper it generously. Brown the beef in two or three batches using 2 teaspoons of oil per batch in a hot skillet. Put the beef into the slow-cooker. Heat up 2 more teaspoons of oil and cook 2 onions and 2 carrots that have been chopped medium, along with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook them about 5 minutes or until they are soft. Stir in 1/2 cup of a dry red wine and let it simmer for about a minute. Put the onions and carrots into the cooker along with a 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes, 4 cups of low-sodium chicken broth, 4 cups of low-sodium beef broth, 1 teaspoon dried thyme and 2/3 cup pearled barley. Cook for 6 to 7 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high, until the meat is tender. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley and salt and pepper to taste.