Thursday, September 12, 2013

Hearty Beef & Barley Stew

If you are looking for a new soup/stew recipe to usher in this gorgeous fall weather, you needn't look ay further.

This hearty beef and barley stew is fabuloso!

Now, I have to say that I love all the seasons... but Fall is my favorite!

I love the crispness in the air, the changing leaves, cozy sweaters, football games (Go Cougars!), holidays, all things "pumpkin" and "apple," and all the cooking and baking that ensues:

Soups, stews, baked goodies, pies, breads, rolls... comfort food galore!

And I?

I am a soup/stew person. I could eat soup or stew most days of the week, and be blissfully happy.

What's not to love?

They can be put together in minutes, they're inexpensive, they allow you to be creative, or use up those last couple carrots, or potatoes, or other random veggies that are looking a little lonely in the crisper... or that onion sitting on the counter that's starting to dry out on the edges. Soups and stews can be made wonderfully flavorful and healthy, and they don't have to be exactly the same twice. They're forgiving like that.

My hubby? 

Not so much a soup/stew person... in fact, I can count on one hand the kinds he'll eat with a smile on his face.

This beef and barley stew?

It's his favorite... by like a million miles. He'll even eat the leftovers! (A rarity in and of itself.)

I first put this stew together last year on a whim when I found a package of reduced-priced stew meat at the grocery store. I added a little of this, and a little of that, and when dinner was served, I couldn't believe his reaction:

He RAVED... about STEW! I can't adequately convey to you what a huge deal this is. You'd have to talk with my husband to understand. It's a big deal.

Plus, I'm pretty enamored by it myself.

It's thick, rich, hearty, and beefy without being over-loaded with meat. Best of all for me, it's chock-full of veggies, and barley. It comes together quickly, and simmers for a hour or more to allow all the amazing ingredients to create the perfect fall-flavor.

The kiddos gobble it up, dipping their cornbread as they go... huge bonus!

I hope you enjoy this fall favorite.

Hearty Beef & Barley Stew
Printable Version

Serves 8-10 adults

(*Note: This can be made in the slow cooker... simply throw all the ingredients together in the slow cooker on low for 6 hours. I prefer making it on the stove to let the flavors develop a bit better. If you make this in the slow cooker, it won't be quite as thick.)

1 lb. lean stew meat, chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
7 cups water
1 Tbsp. beef base (better than bullion)
3 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 (15 oz) can petite diced tomatoes (can be pureed if your kids don't like tomato chunks)
3/4 cup barley
1 cup frozen corn (or use a whole can)
1 tsp. thyme
salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the stew meat, minced garlic, and diced onion. Stir to brown the meat.

Add water, beef base, chopped carrots, tomatoes, barley, corn, thyme, salt and pepper to taste.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and allow to simmer, uncovered for at least 1 hour.

Serve hot with cornbread and a green salad. Store leftovers in the fridge for 3-5 days, or freeze up to 3 months.


  1. YUM. This is dinner tomorrow. :) Am I just always on here right when you post? Love it. Thanks for another great one!

    1. Kate, you're the best! I love that your internet timing happens to line up with my posts. :) I hope you enjoy dinner tomorrow!

  2. Hi, If I wanted to sub sweet potatoes for the barley, how many do you think I would need to feed 5 persons?

    1. Sorry it has taken me FOREVER to respond! (I had my baby 5 weeks early, and things have been a bit hectic. :) I would go with 3-4 depending on the size. Good luck!

  3. Congratulations your new baby! I hope things are going well seeing that he/she was five weeks early! I am wondering if this could be turned into a crockpot recipe? My husband and I are in school and it has been so nice with many of your other recipes to throw it in the pot early in the morning and then come home to a nice dinner. P.S. My husband I ate on $80 last month! And we didn't even feel like we were starving. Your recipes are so good I have been sharing with everyone! Thanks so much for making this! We are shooting for $75 this month. We went grocery shopping yesterday and spent $74.90 so hopefully it will last.

    1. Great job on keeping your grocery budget so low! This can definitely be made in the crockpot. I just prefer it on the stove so it can thicken. :) just put everything in the crockpot for about 6-8 hours on low.

  4. Andrea,

    I have been enjoying reading your blog! You have great ideas. Please visit mine anytime you would like.


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