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This was a nice, hearty soup- great with some fresh bread to sop up the broth. As suggested, I did all my prep the night before, and just tossed everything in the crockpot before leaving for work in the morning. I let it cook about 9 1/2 hours, and the beef was fall-apart tender when I served it. There are a lot of mushrooms in this soup- I honestly think 8 ounces each of the fresh and dried are too much. I cut back to 5 ounces dried and 6 ounces fresh, and this almost didn't fit into the pot. If you love mushrooms, try this dish. Although the shitakes are wonderful, I'd also like to try this with a mix of different mushrooms. Thanks for posting a great recipe!