A slow cooker is nice to come home to and the ideal appliance for cooking less tender but flavourful cuts of meat. Barley, a good source of fibre, thickens the stew without the need for flour. Serve this warming comfort food over mashed potatoes or with thick slabs of crusty whole-grain bread.
Slow Cooker Time: 8 to 10 hours
Trim any excess fat from beef, cut any large pieces smaller. Heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil in large skillet over medium-high heat; cook beef until browned, in 2 batches if necessary. Transfer to slow cooker.
Add remaining oil to pan; cook onions and carrots a few minutes until lightly softened. Stir in broth, barley, brown sugar, tomato paste, vinegar, salt, thyme and pepper; bring to simmer. Pour into slow cooker; cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours (or on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours) until beef and barley are tender. Turn off slow cooker. Stir in peas and let stand for 10 minutes to heat peas.