Hearty stew that can be cooked in a couple hours on the stove top or low and slow all day in a crock pot. The crock pot version creates a creamier stew while the stove top version is more of a soup.
Beef and Barley Soup/Stew
2 pound roast, trimmed and chunked (crock pot) or cut into 3/4" pieces (stove top)
6 cups beef broth
2 cups water*
1-1/4 cup chopped/sliced carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup quick barley (more or less as you change the dish's consistency)
1 cup frozen peas
CROCK POT VERSION:
In a stainless steel pan heat oil, then brown beef pieces. It is not necessary to sear on all sides if you do not have the time. Dump meat into a crock pot. Add some of the broth to the pan to get all the bits and flavor off. Pour it also into the crock pot. Add the rest of the broth, (*1 cup only of water,) carrots, celery, onion, and salt/pepper.
Cook on low for 8-9 hours. The beef should be tender. I add in the barley about an hour before serving. It gives me a chance to see how much liquid is in the crock. If I think it is too much I add more barley to soak it up a little.
Break apart the pieces of beef if they are large and add frozen peas in and give a stir. The heat from the stew will thaw the peas.
In a large pot brown beef in oil. Drain off any oil. Stir in broth, water, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for at least an hour stirring occasionally. Add vegetables (except peas,) cover and simmer for another 45 minutes to an hour until vegetables are soft. Stir in peas, again the heat from the soup will thaw the peas.