Slow Cooker Mushroom Barley Stew is a cozy filling vegetarian recipe. Rutabega, carrots and celery, leeks and mushrooms are cooked low and slow in your slow cooker. As a bonus, majority of this recipe can be made 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.
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.