Beef, Vegetable and Barley Stew

Beef, Vegetable and Barley Stew-1-16A stew is like a great marriage between an entree and a soup. This beef stew is one of my favorites. It’s so comforting, hearty and tasty. Tender, fall apart pieces of beef are mixed with potatoes, carrots, celery, onion and mushrooms, which makes it so rich and full of nutrients. The tomatoes give it a touch of acidity and the barley makes it creamy. I adore barley in any soup. Make a large pot of this stew, freeze part of it and you’l have a really easy dinner to enjoy some time down the road.

Ingredients:
1 – 1 1/2 lbs beef, chopped into 1 inch pieces (I use chuck or top sirloin steak)
1 Tablespoon butter or oil
1 onion, minced
3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced
2-3 celery stalks, sliced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 dry bay leaf
2-3 potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped, optional
1/3 cup pearl barley
8-10 cups broth (beef, chicken or vegetable)
6-8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
salt, ground black pepper
1-2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Instructions:

Beef, Vegetable and Barley Stew-1-14

*not pictured – garlic

Place the beef in a medium pot and fill it with enough water to cover the beef by about an inch. Beef, Vegetable and Barley Stew-2Season with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook on low heat, covered, until the beef is fork tender, 1 – 1 1/2 hours. While the beef is simmering, use a slotted spoon to skim off all the impurities that will rise to the top.

The reason that I cook the beef in a separate pot is because there is always a lot of particles that will float in the broth when you cook meat. After I cook the beef, I scoop out the beef out of the liquid with a slotted spoon and then strain the remaining broth through a fine mesh sieve lined with a cheesecloth or paper towel. It takes quite a long time for the beef to become tender, which is why I cook the rest of the stew in another pot, while the beef is cooking. If you don’t care about this sort of thing, you can cook the beef with the rest of the ingredients. However, I prefer soups or stew that have a clear broth.

Meanwhile, in a large pot or dutch oven, heat the butter or oil and add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 7 minutes, on medium low heat, until the vegetables are softened and just beginning to become golden. Beef, Vegetable and Barley Stew-4Add the dry bay leaf, the potatoes and the tomatoes to the broth. Beef, Vegetable and Barley Stew-5The tomatoes are optional. You can omit them or you can use a Tablespoon of tomato paste instead of the fresh tomatoes. Bring the broth to a boil, add the barley and cook for about 20 minutes. Beef, Vegetable and Barley Stew-7Add the sliced mushrooms. Beef, Vegetable and Barley Stew-9Cook for another 10 minutes and then discard the dry bay leaf. Taste the stew and add more salt and ground black pepper if necessary. Add the cooked beef to the stew as soon as it is fork tender. You can add more or less broth to adjust how thick or thin you want the stew to be.Beef, Vegetable and Barley Stew-8Add the fresh parsley to the stew.

Beef, Vegetable and Barley Stew-11This stew is great served as a leftover and can be frozen too, which is why I like to make a large batch of it.Beef, Vegetable and Barley Stew-1-16

Beef, Vegetable and Barley Stew
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soups
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 lb beef, chopped into 1 inch pieces (I use chuck)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter or oil
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2-3 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 dry bay leaf
  • 2-3 potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped, optional
  • ⅓ cup pearl barley
  • 8-10 cups broth (beef, chicken or vegetable)
  • 6-8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • salt, ground black pepper
  • 1-2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Instructions
  1. Place the beef in a medium pot and fill it with enough water to cover the beef by about an inch. Season with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook on low heat, covered, until the beef is fork tender, 1 - 1½ hours. While the beef is simmering, use a slotted spoon to skim off all the impurities that will rise to the top.
  2. The reason that I cook the beef in a separate pot is because there is always a lot of particles that will float in the broth when you cook meat. After I cook the beef, I scoop out the beef out of the liquid with a slotted spoon and then strain the remaining broth through a fine mesh sieve lined with a cheesecloth or paper towel. It takes quite a long time for the beef to become tender, which is why I cook the rest of the stew in another pot, while the beef is cooking. If you don't care about this sort of thing, you can cook the beef with the rest of the ingredients. However, I prefer soups or stew that have a clear broth.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large pot or dutch oven, heat the butter or oil and add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 7 minutes, on medium low heat, until the vegetables are softened and just beginning to become golden.
  4. Add the dry bay leaf, the potatoes and the tomatoes to the broth. The tomatoes are optional. You can omit them or you can use a Tablespoon of tomato paste instead of the fresh tomatoes. Bring the broth to a boil, add the barley and cook for about 20 minutes.
  5. Add the sliced mushrooms. Cook for another 10 minutes and then discard the dry bay leaf. Taste the stew and add more salt and ground black pepper if necessary. Add the cooked beef to the stew as soon as it is fork tender. You can add more or less broth to adjust how thick or thin you want the stew to be. Add the fresh parsley to the stew.
  6. This stew is great served as a leftover and can be frozen too, which is why I like to make a large batch of it.

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