Liz’s Slow Cooker Beef, Barley and Mushroom Soup Recipe

Liz's Slow Cooker Beef, Barley and Mushroom Soup Recipe

Liz’s Slow Cooker Beef, Barley and Mushroom Soup Recipe is an unctuous, earthy and deeply satisfying low-stress main dish. Packed with protein from the kosher beef and a variety of hearty mushrooms, serve with lightly steamed greens.

Community Recipes is a recurring feature where we share your recipes on the Jewish Food Hero blog. If you want to share a recipe in this series, pitch us your idea here. This series is all about sharing  Kosher recipes. We are creating a positive community around food and sharing.

Liz's Slow Cooker Beef, Barley and Mushroom Soup Recipe

Tell us about yourself, Liz Rueven!

I write and teach about the intersection of seasonal recipes, local food ways and Jewish lifestyle. I’m passionate about supporting the hard work of small farmers and food creatives through serving on the board of my farmers’ market in CT. I relish opportunities to teach young students how to cook and eat in step with the seasons. If you wake up early enough, you’ll find me tending to my vegetable garden or swimming.

I grew up outside of NYC and understood the value of kosher lifestyle by living it with my parents. I have two adult kids- one married and one getting married this summer. Gardening, swimming and cooking with my two grandkids are my main loves. Their insightful questions and comments have reminded me about the wisdom of innocent thinking and feeling.

I love vegetable gardening and keep a few raised beds close to my kitchen so I can snip herbs and greens whenever possible. I try to exercise in some way, every day and relish feeling strong and able as a result of my commitment. Swimming and climbing through wooded paths in CT are two of my favorite ways to stay fit.

Liz's Slow Cooker Beef, Barley and Mushroom Soup Recipe

Tell us about your passion project

I’ve been blogging at since 2011. Discovering inspiring stories behind growers, farmers’ markets, products and chefs is a lifelong passion. I still get a thrill from every new encounter with determined creatives in the local food movement. Recently, I was asked to write a regular magazine column that I call Food for Good. This allows me to highlight food businesses and people who help to heal the world through generous actions in their communities. I hope that spreading the message about the importance of supporting local food systems inspires readers to consider committing to that.

Tell us about your connection with Judaism. How is it expressed in your life in general, and in your kitchen? 

The rhythm of my week is driven by a pause for Shabbat. While I am not Shomer Shabbat (one who is strict about not using electricity, driving, etc.), I prepare for Friday nights by making it special. Setting the table with flowers, preparing our meal with extra care, gathering with friends and family and taking the time to slow down and enjoy it all, is how we celebrate. While keeping a kosher kitchen is natural for me, it is a reminder that our food is deeply connected to our identity as Jews. A few years ago I decided to only eat vegetarian and fish when I’m away from my kosher kitchen. These restrictions remind me, even in public settings, that my choices are in keeping with so many who are “kosher like me”.

When our kids moved on to their adult lives, we started a Shabbat dinner club with other empty nesters. We gather together as a group of 10 every 4-6 weeks to enjoy Shabbat dinner at each other’s homes. Our commitment to sourcing as many ingredients as possible from local farmers means that our dinners are always seasonal and creative.

Liz's Slow Cooker Beef, Barley and Mushroom Soup Recipe

What is the best tip you have to share about hospitality? 

I design my menus around dishes that can be prepped in advance and mostly served at room temperature. This way, I can relax and not worry about the food. I’ve also learned that when friends ask me to prepare something again because they love it, I should do it!

What three food items could you not live without? 

Summer berries, bakery fresh whole grain bread, hard cheeses.

Liz's Slow Cooker Beef, Barley and Mushroom Soup Recipe

Give us your best food tip! 

Try shopping without a grocery list and buy what is fresh and in-season. Flavors will be at their peak, prices will be more reasonable, and preparation can be minimal.

Tell us about your favorite cookbooks

For old-world Ashkenazi cooking: The Gefilte Manifesto by Liz Alpern and Jeffrey Yoskowitz

I love The Jewish Cookbook by Leah Koenig as a comprehensive and international resource on Jewish food.

Shuk by Einat Admony and Janna Gur
I go here when I’m looking for big flavor Israeli food.

What’s the story behind your Slow Cooker Beef Recipe?

This recipe smells like my Nanny Bertha Scher’s kitchen. While I use a slow cooker to elicit the richest flavor of the beef, I know my grandmother simmered her soup “low and slow” to do the same. Shitake mushrooms elevate this classic in a subtle way. Still, its essential elements come together for a creamy, toothsome, rich and satisfying meal in one bowl. I always serve it in bowls placed on intricately patterned china dishes that look like those my grandmother had.

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Liz's Slow Cooker Beef, Barley and Mushroom Soup Recipe

Liz’s Slow Cooker Beef, Barley and Mushroom Soup Recipe

  • Author: Liz Rueven
  • Prep Time: 30 min (+4 hours soaking)
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 10-12


⅔ cup barley

2 Tbsp canola oil

1 lb. beef stew or flanken (cubed or in chunks), rinsed and patted dry

2 medium onions, chopped

8 oz. portobello mushrooms, quartered

4 oz. shitake mushrooms, sliced

4 cloves garlic, chopped

6 carrots, washed or scraped and chopped

4 celery stalks, washed and chopped

2 bay leaves

6 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped (reserve 1-2 Tb. for garnish)

2 Tbsp tomato paste

3 cartons beef broth (32 oz. each)

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (better to salt after cooking as some broths are salty)


  1. Soak barley in cold water 2-3 hours or overnight. 

  2. Rinse and drain. Place in slow cooker insert.

  3. Heat oil in large saute or cast iron pan. DO NOT use non-stick surface. Brown chunks of beef 6-8 minutes on each side, allowing space between each piece. Place in slow cooker insert.

  4. In the same pan (do not wipe it out) brown onions until golden, 12-15 minutes.

  5. Add all mushrooms, stir and cook over medium heat for another 5-10 minutes.

  6. Add garlic and sauté 5 minutes.

  7. Place all of the above into slow cooker insert. Add chopped carrots, celery, bay leaves, dill, tomato paste and broth. Season with salt and ground pepper. Stir to combine well.

  8. Set slow cooker to LOW and cook for 8 hours.

  9. Remove bay leaves and ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with reserved chopped dill.

Keywords: brisket, slow cook, kosher

More Community Recipes

Jewish Food Hero’s Community Recipes feature is a space for us all to share our favorites and hear from a variety of people in our community.  This is an easy and fun way to get new meal ideas and learn about each other. Since you’ve read Liz’s recipe, do you feel inspired to share your Kosher recipe? Don’t forget to get in touch to share your recipe too!

Check out these other recipes from our community:

Balya’s Creamy Black Beans and Roasted Butternut Squash Over Spiced Rice
Lisa’s Chocolate, Walnut and Date Energy Bites Recipe
Marissa’s Fig Cookie Recipe

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