Beef and Barley Stew

barley soup
Judd Pilossof/Getty Images
  • 2 hrs 30 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins,
  • Cook: 2 hrs
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Ratings (10)

Serve this flavorful beef stew with crusty rolls or biscuits for a hearty family meal. Barley and vegetables make this a delicious, warming stew for an everyday family meal.

The stew includes a wide variety of vegetables, including mushrooms, turnip, carrot, and potatoes. Add the frozen peas just before the stew is ready. Feel free to cut back on the vegetables or change them up to reflect your family's tastes. Add some diced rutabaga to the stew instead of turnip, or use some parsnips along with the carrots. Lima beans are another excellent choice or add a mixed vegetable combination instead of the frozen peas.

For a well-balanced dinner, serve the stew with some crusty French bread or flaky biscuits along with a salad or some fresh sliced cucumbers and tomatoes.

What You'll Need

  • 4 slices bacon (diced)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds beef chuck (lean stewing beef, cut into small pieces)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 6 cups beef stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/3 cup pearled barley
  • 2 cups sliced carrot
  • 2 cups diced turnip
  • 1 large potato (cut into cubes)
  • 1 cup green peas (frozen, thawed)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons cold water

How to Make It

  1. Cook the bacon over medium-low heat in a large stockpot or Dutch oven until almost crisp.
  2. Toss the stew beef pieces with the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add the beef to the bacon mixture and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the olive oil along with the mushrooms, celery, and onion. Cook over medium heat, frequently stirring until the onion is translucent and the beef has browned nicely.
  1. Add the beef stock and bay leaf and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 45 minutes.
  2. Add the barley, carrots, and turnip. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
  3. Add potatoes and simmer for about 25 minutes longer, or until the vegetables and meat are tender.
  4.  Add thawed the peas to the stew and cook for about 10 minutes longer.
  5. To thicken the stew, combine the 2 tablespoons of flour with 2 tablespoons of cold water. Whisk until smooth. Stir the flour mixture into the stew. Continue cooking until thickened, stirring constantly.


  • Dried bay leaves are a frequent addition to dishes like braised meats, soups, and stews. You might not notice any particular flavor, but they add subtle, complex seasoning along with other herbs and spices. While fresh herbs are almost always the best choice, bay leaves are an exception. Fresh bay leaves are from a different variety of tree, and their strong flavor can overpower a dish.