Bacon, Vegetable and Pearl Barley Slow Cooker Soup Stew Recipe

Fri 1st, Nov, 2013

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Morning, let’s do a slow cooker soup stew recipe with organic pearl barley that will save mums all over the land when they walk in the door from a long day, let’s do healthy one-pot meals, let’s do comfort food, let’s do nutritious but easy, let’s stroke our crock pots and thank our lucky stars for the person that invented them.

Sponsored Post brought to you by Woolworths Macro Organic. 

OK I am the queen of the slow cooker, we all know that, I really do feel that since that day I pulled it out of the back of the cupboard a good few years ago now back in the Old Country, after having pasta for 6 weeks after my third bambino was born, it really did and continues to keep me sane.   We never have quite gotten over that pasta thing either.  That’s another story for another day.

Funny really because as life ebbs and flows and family dynamic changes, she’s still there sitting on the counter working away and keeping this little family happy and healthy.  If you haven’t got a slow cooker and you have a busy family or work long hours and find yourself reaching for a takeaway I really do recommend you get one.   I don’t know about you but in this house if the dinner is done everything else goes smoothly, if it’s not, everything else seems to go pear-shaped, especially me…I find myself tired and staring into the abyss that is the freezer at 6pm thinking oh em gee what can I throw in the oven without any fuss, there are small boys and much bigger boys aimlessly larruping around opening pantries and asking what is for dinner.

The bottom line here is :  anything that has spent the afternoon in the slow cooker is better in most every way than opening the freezer for fish fingers.


And on that note I’ve had a few reader questions about slow cookers recently, especially after my sweet potato recipe and the recipes in the newsletter, who knew that sweet potatoes were so interesting – anyway the general gist of it is ‘what can you make that you already have in the cupboard/fridge and is still healthy?’  For me that’s always going to be pulses, beans etc thrown in the slow cooker, I’ll usually add protein with bacon or speck or chorizo or similar if I’ve got it (these have a long shelf life in the fridge so I stock up on them), if not the protein comes from toppings, in the mix also will go whatever vegetables are lurking around – more often than not, indeed on most occasions that’s carrots, celery, onion and then I will nearly always throw in a can of tomatoes for good luck.


A few years ago, ahem, actually quite a lot of years ago now, I started on a bit of an organic phase…every single thing I read by those celebrity chefs who line my shelves and speak to me from their kitchens on the tv with $20,000 fridges told me to buy organic.   I was already doing it with a few things like eggs and I started on a journey to up the organic things in our diet .  To be honest it’s been a learning curve, I don’t know about you out there reading this blog, but buying everything organic just isn’t realistic in our budget or indeed in our lifestyle.  I’d love to say that everything is organic, that I wander the markets basket over my arm in a flowing skirt or flounce out to my paddock to pick a few organic vegetables from the vast veggie patch…but I am not a celebrity chef and don’t have that budget, I want and need real-girl solutions to dinner, health, to buying organic  and making my life run smoothly…which is why I nearly always turn to blogs nowadays from real girls with answers and in the same boat as me.


Anyway, in the organic journey I quickly learnt that it’s easy to replace cheaper things with organic things, like cans of beans, pulses etc  and other store-cupboard things…often the difference in $$$ in buying organic on things like this is small enough for me to make the switch – a bag of barley or lentils goes a long way, so the bang for the organic buck in these instances is good, know what I mean?   This recipe uses the Macro Organic range from Woolworth’s – the reasons I like it?  It’s simple, convenient, I don’t have to go out of my way to purchase it in a speciality store (though I can wear a flowing skirt and basket if I like) and the quality holds up, nothing worse than trying a product (especially an organic one which you will have paid more for) and it lets you down.  I don’t know if it’s just me but that really does irk the heck out of me.


So here it is, a very easy slow cooker / crock pot recipe to chuck in, sit back and watch as the rest of your day goes oh so smoothly and you wander around in a haze of domestic goddess glee ;-)


Easy Slow Cooker Vegetable, Bacon & Pearl Barley Stew / Soup Recipe

5 rashers bacon

3 carrots

Salt and pepper

A good lug of vinegar

3 sticks celery

1 large onion or 2 medium

½ cup pearl barley, I used Woolworth’s Macro Organic

I large handful mixed fresh herbs (I used parsley, oregano and thyme)

8 cups stock

3 cloves garlic

1 can diced tomatoes


Chop up the veggies and bacon and add all ingredients to slow cooker / crock pot

Cook on low all day or high 4 to 5 hours

Beach Cottage Recipe Notes*  I don’t always add the tomatoes to this especially if I have any beef stock  *talking of stock I often use the ready-made cartons, they are a new-ish discovery to me and I am loving the convenience and taste (I look out for cartons with the most natural ingredients) I’m loving these cartons in the pantry, so easy, especially for something like this which is pretty much bottom-of-the fridge

That’s it from me, if you need me, I’ll be the one in the skirt stroking her slow cooker.



Sponsored Post brought to you by Woolworths Macro Organic. 





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15 Responses to “Bacon, Vegetable and Pearl Barley Slow Cooker Soup Stew Recipe”

  1. Jeanne says:

    What exactly is a ‘rasher’ of bacon?

  2. Kelly says:

    Hi! Does it matter what vinegar you use? I have malt and white vinegar in the pantry.

  3. Natalie says:

    That looks so yummo!

  4. I am hearing you with the whole organic thing which is why I am loooving the macro range, organic at a realistic got-a-fam-of-five-to-feed price xx

  5. Neen says:

    Can I replace the barley with brown rice ?
    I grew up on soup with barley and my tummy rejects it oh so quickly…..too much info…sorry.
    Can I cook this in the oven? like I do with your AMAZING chicken curry, that is our FAVOURITE ever family meal ;) Neen

  6. Lisa Mckenzie says:

    Lovely and I like pretending I am a domestic goddess too,though I am far from one,i love my slow cooker I use it heaps and I really don’t like much takeaway anyway ,though I do like our local daggy chinese it is the best I have ever tasted and it has fancy plastic placemats and flowers but good food.
    I agree about the organic thing if you can afford it fine ,but if not just chose the things you prefer to be organic I say and grow your own herbs so cheap is that.I also keep chorizo and bacon bits in the freezer ,they freeze well in a small Ziploc bag and are handy for toppings,pizzas and stews and soups xx

  7. alison says:

    “Bottom of the fridge cooking”. I love that term.


  8. merilyn says:

    thanks sarah! … the bottom of my fridge is often a bit sus! but I am one to get creative with anything that looks reasonable and turn it into something eatable!
    my daughter called them ‘lucky dad dinners!’ … unkind! I thought but I wasn’t put off! … i prefer fresh and raw but my significant other is European and he luuvs long slow cooked stews and it is the easiest when one is busy or one hates the kitchen but loves healthy and tasty! … moi! … lol m:)x

  9. merilyn says:

    m again sarah! i don’t belong to facebook but i visit and have a little look to see if I’ve missed a trick or not! how cute do you look at the Sheridan shoot
    somebody had to do the job! anyway i would like to get the everyday email but a bit thick this morning to work out how else to apply for it! so asking you here?
    please … thanku lol m:)x

  10. Ruth Mewton says:

    Can you cook the Bacon and Pearl Barley Stew in an ordinary saucepan ?

  11. Ruth Mewton says:

    Can you cook the Bacon and Pearl Barley Stew in an ordinary saucepan ? and for how long ?

    • sarah says:

      yes you can, I would say about an hour to get good flavours going but a couple of hours very low would be best x