Hearty Beef and Barley Stew

For whatever reason, my family and I don’t eat soup very much. We eat it maybe once a month, but we used to have soup almost once a week, so as you can see, there’s a major difference in our soup consumption. But when I bought a pack of cubed stew beef last week (for 20% off!), the beef stew my mother used to make for me as a child sprung to my mind and I had to ask her what recipe she used. Luckily she still had it in one of her recipe binders—score! I have such good memories of that eating that stew with my family.

Hearty Beef and Barley Stew | Natural Chow | http://naturalchow.comEating buttermilk biscuits on the side is essential, so make sure to make a batch while the stew is cooking. I like to make this beef and barley stew on nights when I plan on having a family dinner or when we’re having guests over. It’s such a great dish that everyone can enjoy. 

Hearty Beef and Barley Stew | Natural Chow | http://naturalchow.com

The ingredients list may look a little lengthy, but keep in mind that there are many spices and vegetables in this recipe. Sometimes a long ingredients list can be a good thing. What if we only added onion and carrot to the recipe and skipped all the rest of the ingredients? Then we’d be missing out on the awesome nutrition you could get from celery mushrooms, and potatoes. So let’s not do that, okay?

Hearty Beef and Barley Stew | Natural Chow | http://naturalchow.com

Making this beef and barley stew for my family gives me such joy. I love seeing their faces as they take the first bite—I would make this every night for that reason alone. Well, that and the fact that I love this stew.

I actually don’t eat barley that often, but it adds so much depth and dimension to this soup. It acts as a great base—one of those things you get plenty of in every bite.

Hearty Beef and Barley Stew | Natural Chow | http://naturalchow.com

You really are going to love this easy and hearty beef and barley stew. It’s so easy and scrumptious, and the amazing savory flavor of the beef melded with the vegetables creates such a perfect dish.

Hearty Beef and Barley Stew | Natural Chow | http://naturalchow.com

Here’s the recipe:

Hearty Beef and Barley Stew
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 6-8 servings
  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 tablespoon rendered pork lard
  • 1½ lbs. stew beef, lean, and cubed
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup celery, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 6 cups broth (beef or vegetable)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup pearled barley
  • 2 cups carrot, roughly chopped
  • 3 cups potato, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons flour blended with 1 tablespoon cold water, optional
  1. Cook bacon over medium-low heat in a large stockpot or Dutch oven until almost crisp.
  2. Toss stew beef pieces with the flour, salt, and pepper. Add to the bacon. Now add the lard, mushrooms, celery, and onion to the bacon mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until beef is browned and onion is tender.
  3. Add broth and bay leaf. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 45 minutes.
  4. Add barley and carrots. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
  5. Add potatoes and simmer for about 25 minutes longer, or until vegetables and meat are tender.
  6. If desired, stir in the flour and water mixture. Cook, stirring, until thickened and bubbly. Serve with buttermilk biscuits.


  1. says

    This is one of my favourite meals, Margaret, and I’ll definitely be making your recipe. This is the only meal where I make the exception of eating red meat because I love it so much! The combination of beef and barley = perfect comfort food. Yours looks absolutely delicious!

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