February is the month to set your slow cooker on the counter and let it work its magic, transforming a tough hunk of meat into tender shreds, like it does in this downright delicious slow cooker beef soup with couscous, made with beef, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, tomatoes, herbs, and pearl couscous.
First, a confession: this was supposed to be a beef and barley soup. Buuuuuuut Daniel came back from the store with pearl couscous (he swore he grabbed the pearl barley), so I decided to go with it—and let me tell you, the results are delicious.
The soup has all the rich, savory flavor of a long-simmered beef stew, only it’s lighter and more brothy, with fall-apart-tender chunks of beef and an aromatic beef broth made with garlic, onion, carrot, celery, bay leaves, fresh thyme, and a bit of soy sauce, which works to enhance that umami beef flavor. The pearl couscous (also known as Israeli couscous) has a lighter texture than hardy barley but it works just as well here, providing a nice chew.
Slow Cooker Beef Soup with Couscous
- 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes (undrained)
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 4 cups beef broth
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves (or 2 tsp dried thyme)
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
- 2 lbs beef chuck roast
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ½ cup pearl couscous (also called Israeli couscous)
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
- In the base of your slow cooker, combine the diced tomatoes and their juice, tomato paste, beef broth, soy sauce, stirring until well mixed. Add the thyme, bay leaves, onion, garlic, carrots, celery.
- Season the beef all over with salt and pepper; add to the slow cooker, pushing it down to cover with the liquid. Cover and cook on low until the beef is so tender that it can easily be pulled apart with a fork, 9-10 hours (or cook on high for 6-7 hours)
- Transfer the beef to a large plate or cutting board and use two forks to shred into bite-size chunks, discarding any pieces of fat and gristle. Discard the bay leaves.
- Stir the pearl couscous into the soup in the slow cooker. Cover and cook until tender, 10-15 minutes. Return the shredded beef to the soup. Add the parsley. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if desired. Serve.