Beef, Vegetable and Barley Stew

This Beef, Vegetable and Barley Stew is one of the most comforting meals. With tender chunks of beef, a concentrated broth, potatoes and barley, it’s very hearty and rich.

Chock full of more vegetables – onions, celery, carrots, garlic, tomatoes and mushrooms, this stew does not disappoint.

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A 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’ll have a really easy dinner to enjoy some time down the road.

What Beef is Best For Stew?

I like using chuck or top sirloin for soups and stews. These cuts of beef become really tender as you cook them. You can also use beef shank on the bone or beef short ribs, cook it and then take the meat off the bone and add it to the stew. 

Cooking the Beef

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 – 1 1/2 hours.

Beef Sirloin will not take as long as beef chuck, beef shank or ribs to cook through. While the beef is simmering, use a slotted spoon to skim off all the impurities that will rise to the top.

The cooked beef will be added to the stew at the very end.

Why Cook the Beef Separately?

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.

Barley in Stew

There are different kinds of barley available. The one that is the lead processed is barley groats, or hulled barley. It takes about an hour to cook though.

The one I prefer using is pearled barley, it’s a bit more processed, so it cooks in 30-40 minutes.

There is also a quick cooking barley, which only takes about 10 minutes to cook. It will specify on the package how long to cook it for, so add it to the stew depending on which one you use.

If you don’t like barley, you can use white or brown rice instead.

Cooking the Vegetables and Barley in the Stew

Beef, vegetable and barley stew tutorial

While the beef is cooking, 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.

Add the dry bay leaf, the potatoes and the tomatoes. The tomatoes are optional. You can omit them or you can use a Tablespoon of tomato paste instead of the fresh tomatoes.

Pour in the broth and bring it to a boil, add the barley and cook for about 20 minutes. 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.

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Cooking the Beef Stew in the Instant Pot

This is a perfect recipe to make in the Instant Pot, because it will make the process much faster.

You can cook the beef in the Instant Pot while you cook the rest of the stew on the stovetop, or you can cook all the stew in the Instant Pot.

  1. Place the beef with the water (enough water to cover the beef) in the Instant Pot. Add salt to taste, black peppercorns and a dry bay leaf are optional. Cook on Manual Mode, High Pressure for 45-60 minutes, depending on the beef. Check it after 45 minutes, if it needs more time, cook it longer, until the beef is tender. If you use top sirloin beef, you only need to cook it for 20 minutes. Strain the beef. Save the beef and broth and you can add it to the stew later.

2. Sauté the veggies (onion, celery, carrots and garlic) using the Saute option on the Instant Pot, until they soften.

3. Add the tomatoes, barley and broth to the Instant Pot. Cook on Manual Mode, High Pressure for 13 minutes.

4. Add the potatoes and mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes on Manual Mode, High Pressure. Add the beef and fresh herbs to the stew.

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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.

Print

Beef, Vegetable and Barley Stew

  • Author: Olga’s Flavor Factory
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 mins
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Soups

Description

This Beef, Vegetable and Barley Stew is one of the most comforting meals. With tender chunks of beef, a concentrated broth, potatoes and barley, it’s very hearty and rich.

Chock full of more vegetables – onions, celery, carrots, garlic, tomatoes and mushrooms, this stew does not disappoint.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 lb beef, chopped into 1 inch pieces (I use chuck)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter or oil
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 34 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 23 celery stalks, sliced
  • 23 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 dry bay leaf
  • 23 potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped, optional
  • 1/3 cup pearl barley
  • 810 cups broth (beef, chicken or vegetable)
  • 68 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • salt, ground black pepper
  • 12 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 – 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. Strain the beef when it’s cooked. Set the beef aside to be added to the soup later. Save the broth to use in addition to more broth that is in the ingredient list.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. Pour in the the broth, bring it to a boil, add the barley and cook for about 20 minutes.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Keywords: beef vegetable and barley stew, how to cook beef and barley stew in the instant pot, beef stew, beef soup, beef and vegetable soup

7 Comments

  • Marina

    What I do when I cook soups with beef- I put the meat on the pan and cook it on medium- hot heat for a few minutes. When it starts releasing the particles, I rinse the meat and cook it some more. Rinse it and put it in the pot to cook. That way I won’t have the particles floating and I still can get some beef broth taste while the beef is cooking. I add the rest ingredients in the pot when I need to.

  • Mila L.

    Made this soup for dinner today and it is a keeper. I was short on time so I cooked my beef for 15 minutes in pressure cooker and added to pot of soup at the end. This recipe will be added to my family recipe collection. Thanks for sharing.

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