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Beef 'n' Brew Crockpot Vegetable Soup

From Athens Locally Grown

<p>This is a great soup to make when you&#8217;re expecting visitors. It can be assembled and started in the crockpot many hours before the party, leaving you free to do other things. Beer is a prominent ingredient in this hearty soup. If you want a lighter beer flavor, use a pale beer. Use a darker beer for a more pronounced beer taste. (Use home brew for real bragging rights!)</p>
Source: "New Flavors from Your Crockery Cooker" (Better Homes & Gardens, 1998) (Entered by Janice Matthews)
Serves: 6

3 medium onions, sliced
1 pound carrots, peeled & cut into 1/2-inch slices
4 parsnips, cut in 1/2-inch slices
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 T. snipped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried thyme, crushed)
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 T. quick-cooking tapioca
1 1/2 lb. beef stew meat, cut in 1-inch cubes
1 14 1/2 oz. can beef broth
1 12-oz. can light or dark beer

Step by Step Instructions
  1. In this order, in a 5- or 6-quart crockpot, place onions, carrots, parsnips, garlic, bay leaves, thyme if you're using the dried kind*, and pepper. (*Fresh thyme is better added at the end; see below.)
  2. Sprinkle veggies with tapioca. Place meat on top of vegetables, and pour beef broth and beer over all.
  3. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 10 to 12 hours or on high-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours. (Note: If you can't resist lifting the lid to peek, do it very quickly -- an uncovered crockpot can lose up to 20 degrees of cooking heat in as little as 2 minutes.)
  4. Before serving, remove bay leaves. Stir in fresh thyme.