- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Coarse salt and pepper
- 1 pound beef chuck, cut into 3 pieces
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 thyme sprigs
- 4 cups chicken or beef broth, divided
- 1/2 pound small potatoes, halved
- 1/2 medium butternut squash (1 pound), peeled and diced medium (2 cups)
- 1/2 cup pearl barley
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Season beef with salt and cook until pieces are browned on all sides, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a 5-to-6-quart slow cooker.
To the skillet, add remaining tablespoon oil, the garlic, and thyme and saute until fragrant, 1 minute. Add 2 cups broth and cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon. Transfer mixture to slow cooker.
Add potatoes, squash, barley, 2 cups water, and remaining 2 cups broth to slow cooker, cover, and cook on high until meat is very tender, 4 hours (or 8 hours on low). Using two forks, shred beef. Season to taste with salt and pepper.