2 pounds stew meat (nicely marbled beef chunks)
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons oil
10 cups water
3 mounded tablespoons good quality beef base
3 stalks celery (about 2 cups), chopped
2 onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 large potato, peeled and shredded, about 2 cups
3-4 large carrots, peeled and shredded, about 2 cups
1 cup pearl barley rinsed
Generously salt and pepper the beef. In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
When it is very hot, add about 1/3 of the meat. Brown for about 1-2 minutes, then turn to brown the other side. Remove to a plate when it is browned on all sides. Repeat with remaining meat in 2 more batches. (If you add it all at once it will steam the meat instead of browning it–not what you want.)
When all the meat is browned, add all the meat back to the pot with 10 cups of water. Add 3 healthy tablespoons beef stock concentrate.
Add the chopped celery, onions, and garlic. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 2 hours with the lid on.
When the meat is tender and you can break it apart easily with a wooden spoon, add the shredded potato and carrots. Bring to a boil, then continue to simmer on low for another 30-45 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.
Add 1 cup of barley. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low. Cook for another half hour, or until barley is tender and the soup tastes…like home.
SLOW COOKER INSTRUCTIONS:
In a large pan, brown the meat according to the instructions. Remove the browned meat to a large crockpot. Add 2 cups of the water to the pan and bring to a boil. Stir up all the browned bits. Add this and the remaining 8 cups of water to the crock pot.
Add the beef base, celery, onions, and garlic to the slow cooker and stir.
Cook on low for about 6 hours. Add the potatoes and carrots and cook for another hour. Add the barley and simmer for another hour or so, until it is tender.