"It has finally stopped snowing", she said quietly as she knocked on wood. We actually saw the sun today and they are calling for more sun tomorrow; it has been quite a winter!! My poor old crock pot has hardly hit the shelf this winter; it seems like there is always some bean or soup recipe bubbling away in there. 

Today's post is one of picky-picky husbands crockpot favorites. It is very rich, very beefy, very filling and it just keeps getting better and better the longer it cooks.

I was a young bride when I tried to make  home made beef soup the first time and it was terrible (I think it called for a ton of bay leaves). I remember cooking it all day and wanting it to taste as good as it looked, but we just couldn't eat it.

I didn't give up though, I tried all kinds of magazine recipes; some had a ton of herbs; some had onion soup mix; some had Italian salad dressing mix in it; I tried them all, with little success. I decided to go back to a no frill vegetable soup recipe.  I tweaked it for years until it evolved into the recipe I'm posting today. Picky-picky husband is crazy about this soup and loves to dip hot buttered bread rolls into it.

2 pounds beef chuck roast
1 cup onion chopped
1 cup celery chopped
2 cups carrot chopped
4 large potatoes cubed
2/3 cup pearl barley (don’t leave out)
(2) 32 ounce boxes beef broth
(1) 15 ounce can tomato sauce
½ teaspoon black pepper
(2) heaping teaspoons beef bullion granules 

Cut the beef into 1” cubes, removing as much fat as possible. Brown beef in a minimal amount of vegetable oil until beef is nice and crusty brown (this is where the majority of your soup flavor will come from, so don't skip this step).
Remove beef from fry pan and drain off as much fat as you can; add onion, celery and carrots. Using the moisture from the veggies, de-glaze any crusty brown bits on the bottom of the pan. If the brown bits are stubborn, add a table spoon of water and use your spatula to scrape up the fond . Cook until onions are transparent. 
Put the beef and sauteed vegetables in the crockpot and add the rest of the ingredients, stir well. Cook on low for 8 hours.
NOTE: Do not leave out barley. It not only gives a wonderful flavor to the soup, but it thickens the broth. 

NOTE: Put any vegetables you like in the soup, just make sure they are vegetables that can stand up to long cooking times.

NOTE: Taste the soup for salt when it is almost done cooking.

more recipe @ coleensrecipes.blogspot.com