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This is a great make ahead meal, you can even do it in the slow cooker after you’ve browned the onions, meat and garlic. Some of you might even have that fancy slow cooker where you can do the browning right in it. Either way, pair it up with a nice bit of cheese and some bread or crackers. Add a simple green salad and this is dinner in no time.

olive oil
2 cups chopped onion, that’s about 1 large onion
2 pounds chuck steak, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/2 cups peeled and chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
5 cloves of garlic, minced
5 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
3 bay leaves
1 cup uncooked pearl barley
5 cups low sodium beef broth (you want to be able to add the salt to taste, so the less in your ingredients the better)
2 cups water
1/2 cup tomato puree
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste –

Heat a large pan over medium heat. Put in a couple tablespoons of olive oil and add the onions and the beef to the pan. Cook for 10 minutes or until the onions are tender and the beef is browned. Stir it around a few times while it’s cooking. Add the carrots and celery and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, and cook for 30 seconds. Don’t let the garlic burn. Stir in the barley and the rest of the ingredients. Bring it all to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 40 minutes or until the barley is done and vegetables are tender. Discard the bay leaves and if you’re using fresh thyme, the leaves will have fallen off of the stems, so take the stems our too.

Serves 6

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