Diane Prather

Diane Prather

Hearty beef, barley, lentil soup for a slow cooker

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Ingredients

Beef, barley, lentil soup ingredients:

• 1 package fajita beef, or about 1 pound

• 2 cups cubed potatoes

• 1/2 cup chopped celery

• 1/4 cup chopped onion (optional)

• 1 cup dry lentils

• 1/2 cup pearl barley

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 2 cups beef bouillon

• 6 cups water (or more)

- Recipe provided to Diane Prather from Jan Rinker

This week, Jan Rinker, who lives west of Craig, sent me a recipe for "Beef, Barley, Lentil Soup."

Jan said, "It's a very filling, hearty soup made in a slow cooker. It easily makes eight to 10 servings. I don't recall the recipe's source, but it's a family favorite."

I have not tried the recipe yet, but I decided to pass it on because it sounds like a wonderful meal for one of these cold, wintery days we've been having.

The ingredients are: 1 package fajita beef (about 1 pound), cut in 1/2-inch pieces; 2 cups cubed potatoes, 1/4-inch pieces; 1/2 cup chopped celery; 1/4 cup chopped onion, optional; 1 cup dry lentils, rinsed; 1/2 cup pearl barley; 1 teaspoon salt; 2 cups beef bouillon; and 6 cups water (or more).

We raise our own beef so when I make the soup, I'll probably cut the pieces from round steak.

In a nonstick skillet, cook the beef until no longer pink and drain. Transfer to a 5-quart slow cooker. Layer with potatoes, celery, lentils and barley. Jan says she usually divides each ingredient into three portions and makes that many layers above the meat.

Combine bouillon, water, and salt and pour over the vegetables. Jan said if using a smaller slow cooker, you can add water later, when there's room for it.

Cook covered on low for six hours or until vegetables and barley are tender.

This sounds like a delicious soup, and I can hardly wait to try it. Thanks, Jan.

Stew is another meal that can be cooked in the slow cooker. My husband and I have been enjoying beef fondue lately, and I have some leftover cubes of sirloin steak. I plan to use them up in a stew.

Note: You'll need to adjust the ingredients for the size of the slow cooker - I'm using a small one - and for the number of people you want to serve. The following ingredients are for the two of us.

You'll need: about 1 pound cubed meat; 1 medium potato, cubed; 2 medium carrots, sliced; 1 small onion, sliced; 1 stalk celery, sliced crosswise and some chopped celery leaves; 1 small can peas (drained); 1 can or jar of prepared beef gravy; and seasonings.

If you have time, brown the meat before putting it in the slow cooker. Sometimes I don't. Season the meat. Prepare the vegetables and layer them on top. You can season each layer. Add water, cover and cook on low all day.

An hour or so before serving, drain off some of the liquid. Add the gravy, stir and cover. Cook until the mixture is warmed through. Add more gravy, if desired.

Leftover beef roast and vegetables also can be chopped up and the meat's gravy added. Season and warm through.

Keep those recipes coming. Send them to me at Box 415, Craig 81626, or call me at 824-8809.

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