Slow Cooker Mushroom Barley Stew is a cozy filling vegetarian recipe consisting of rutabaga, carrots and celery, leeks and mushrooms are cooked with broth, low and slow in your slow cooker. Majority of this recipe can be prepped into a freezer meal kit and then easily whipped up on a chilly day or when you’re just not in the mood to cook.
Would you even believe me if I told you I made this last year and forgot to post it?
I remember prepping a bunch of slow cooker freezer meal kits and somehow this one slipped through the cracks. I know. It’s madness. Luckily it’s the perfect season for stew and this Slow Cooker Mushroom Barley Stew is just the comforting meal after Mother Nature dumps 4 inches of snow.
In this post I will walk you through the actual kit and explain how to prepare from the kit in your slow cooker. Because what’s better than waking up, throwing a bag of ingredients int your slow cooker and coming home to a low and slow cooked stew?
I can’t think of anything.
To Make this Slow Cooker Mushroom Barley Stew freezer meal kit you will need:
prep for slow cooker:
- fire roasted diced tomatoes
- cremini mushrooms
- uncooked barley
Above is just what you need to build the freezer meal kit. I do not use potatoes because they don’t freeze as well.
On the day you plan to make the recipe: you will:
- vegetable broth or stock
- bay leaf
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- crusty bread, for serving (optional)
I bought a few of these clip storage bag holders (affiliate) which really helped to hold my gallon ziplock bags upright so I could add in all of the prepped ingredients. If you’re prepping a few recipes at a time, I would highly recommend buying a few of these holders, they are so extremely handy!
To Build The Slow Cooker Mushroom Barley Stew Freezer Meal Kit:
Starting with the tomatoes, add 1 (15 ounce) can in the bottom of a freezer-safe gallon bag. Then layer in the 1 to 2 diced rutabagas (about 3 cups), 1 (sliced, rinsed and patted dry) leeks or onions, 2 stalks sliced celery, 2 sliced carrots, 1 pound quartered mushrooms and 1 cup barley. Next, lay the freezer kit flat and gently press out as much air as possible and seal tight.
Prep is done.
I also recommend writing out the labels (if using them) in advance and placing them on the baggies before adding the ingredients. Write down ingredients that are in the bag, the ingredients you will need day of in order to make the recipe and then any garnishes or ideas for serving. This is helpful, so when you pull out the bag to thaw, you can purchase any ingredients that you don’t have on hand.
The Day Before:
Pull it out of the freezer and place it into your fridge to thaw. I DO NOT recommend adding a completely frozen meal kit in to your slow cooker. Doing so may affect cooking times and the outcome of the recipe. I also read that the contents might not reach a safe temperature to consume.
However, partially thawed is absolutely fine. In fact, after my stew kit thawed in my fridge for 24 hours, the vegetables were pretty thawed so this rule of thumb may not apply to this meal kit, but is important information to know when making any slow cooker freezer meal kit.
First, place the entire thawed contents from the slow cooker mushroom barley stew kit into your slow cooker. Next, add in the bay leaf and pour in 8 cups of vegetable stock or broth. Then push the rutabaga down to submerge them into the liquids. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Once cooked, remove the bay leaf, taste and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to your liking.
Lastly, ladle the piping hot soup into bowls. The serve with a sprinkle of minced fresh parsley and more fresh ground black pepper.
This robust, healthy stew will warm you to your soul! And it just so happens to be the perfect stew to dunk slices of crusty bread into.
For MORE slow cooker freezer kits, check out these recipes:
Slow Cooker Mushroom Barley Stew (Freezer Meal Kit)
FOR THE FREEZER MEAL KIT:
- 1 (15 ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 2 medium rutabega, depending on sized, diced large
- 2 medium carrots, sliced
- 2 short stalks celery, sliced
- 1 leek, or 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered
- 1 cup barley, uncooked
THE DAY OF:
- 2 quarts vegetable stock or broth
- 1 bay leaf
- kosher salt, to taste
- black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
FOR THE FREEZER KIT:
- In a large gallon size resealable bag, layer the tomatoes, rutabaga, carrot, celery, leek* or onion, mushrooms and barley.
- Carefully squeeze out as much of the air as possible before sealing the bag all of the way. Lay flat to freeze, this makes it easier to store and for stacking other slow cooker freezer meals. Store in your freezer for 3 to 4 months or possibly longer.
- If frozen, remove the freezer meal kit one day in advance and place it in your fridge to thaw.
- The day of, add the thawed or partially thawed mushroom barley stew. Add in a bay leaf and pour in the broth.
- Cover and cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours.
- Once ready to serve, remove the bay leaf and season with kosher salt and black pepper to taste.
- Ladle the hot stew into bowls and sprinkle with minced fresh parsley and more black pepper if desired.
- This stew is great served with warm crusty bread.
- It's handy to label the freezer kit meal with what's in the kit and what is needed the day of, along with any cooking and serving instructions.
- *If using leeks; cut in half lengthwise and slice. Rinse well in a bowl of cold water, remove and pat dry in a thick kitchen towel. Discarding sand water last.
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