1 boneless beef chuck roast (3-pound), trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Table salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions , chopped medium
2 carrots , peeled and chopped medium
1/2 cup zinfandel
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
4 cups low-sodium beef broth
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
2/3 cup pearl barley
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
1. Dry the beef with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown half of the beef, about 10 minutes, then add to the slow cooker. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and repeat with 2 more teaspoons oil and the remaining beef.
2. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the empty skillet and heat over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions, carrots, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the wine, scraping up any browned bits. Simmer until the wine has reduced by half, about 1 minute, then pour into the slow cooker.
3. Add the tomatoes with their juice, the broths, thyme, and barley to the slow cooker. Cover and cook, on either low or high, until the beef is tender, 6 to 7 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high. Before serving, stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 8.