Beef Barley Stew

January 27, 2013

I am in full on hibernation mode, thanks to the inch or so of snow that fell a few days ago in Chicago and many, many thanks to this stew.

There is just something about a big pot of stew bubbling away all day that makes me want to turn my phone to silent, put on a good movie, and never leave the house.

I am not lying. Yesterday, as Mike and I were heading out to hang out with some friends, I saw a lady walking in front of us that I truly longed to be. She was wearing pajama pants and Ugg’s. She was caryring a plastic bag with two bottles of wine in one hand and a a takeout box in the other hand. Sigh…. If only that was my night. (Sidenote: I was totally happy we went out because I love my friends and I was really happy to see people I hadn’t in quite some time).

I originally wanted to make this in the crockpot. I was doing some research and looking up some well-known crockpot recipes for beef barley soup. I was getting a little frustrated because every single recipe I looked through said to brown all the ingredients before putting them into the crockpot. Don’t mind me, I’m just going to vent a little bit right now. Umm… but doesn’t that defeat the purpose of the crockpot?

If I have to cook everything on the stove, I might as well just keep it cooking on the stove, right?

So I made a good ol’ fashioned stick to your bones soup, on the stove. I think this is the perfect meal for a Sunday night dinner.

Beef Barley Stew

Course Soup/Stew
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4 - 6
Author Sarcastic Cooking


  • 2 Pounds Boneless Beef Butt Tenderloin trimmed, cubed, and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 4 Cremini Mushrooms stems removed and sliced
  • 2 Carrots peeled and chopped
  • 2 Celery Stalks chopped
  • ½ Yellow Onion diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic grated
  • ¼ Cup Unsalted Butter
  • ¼ Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 4 Cups Low-Sodium Beef Stock
  • 15 Ounces Canned Diced Tomatoes
  • 3 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 ½ Teaspoons Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • ½ Cup Pearl Barley
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Chopped Parsley


  1. Warm a large Dutch oven or large stock pot over high heat for a minute or two. Season beef with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the beef to the pot. Brown the beef on two sides in two batches, takes about fifteen minutes. Once the beef is browned add it to a plate and set off to the side.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Sauté mushrooms for three minutes. Add in the carrot and celery, sauté another three minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Add the onion, sauté an additional two minutes. Add garlic cook for a minute. Add the beef back to the pot.
  3. Add the butter and stir in until it melts. Add the flour, stir to combine. Cook flour and butter for a minute.
  4. Pour in the beef stock and tomatoes. Add the thyme and bay leaf. Stir to combine the flour butter mixture into the soup. Bring to a simmer.
  5. Add in the barley once the soup is simmering. Cover with lid and let the soup simmer over medium/low heat for 45 – 60 minutes, until barley is puffed and tender.
  6. Remove bay leaf and thyme stems. Stir in fresh parsley and remove from heat. Let the stew cool for five minutes before serving.
  7. Stew lasts 3 – 4 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Soup will last up to a month in an airtight container in the freezer.

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  • Jennie @themessybakerblog
    January 30, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Stef, this looks so good. I will be making a huge pot of this in the very near future. Maybe when it cools down again. Crazy weather! Pinned.

  • Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen
    January 28, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    This looks awesome! I’m totally with you on envying the PJs and Uggs lady though…I’m sure DC has nothing on Chicago as far as cold weather goes, but I basically want to burrow on my couch all winter! Preferably with a bowl of this stew 🙂

  • Vicki
    January 28, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    Just looking at the picture makes my mouth water. Can’t beat barley, mushrooms & beef w/veggies. Will put it together tomorrow & thanks for sharing the recipe.

  • Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe
    January 28, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Ooh, this sounds perfect. Sounds a bit similar to a stew my nana used to make. There is something about barley in soup that just feels so comforting to me. PS. I totally feel you on the envy you had for that woman. Sometimes nothing beats a night at home in your pjs with wine and some food that someone else cooked!

  • Patrick
    January 28, 2013 at 11:28 am

    The comfort food of all comfort food – stew! Love it.

  • kelsey
    January 28, 2013 at 8:27 am

    hmmm I think I’m going to try this with chicken and chicken stock since I don’t eat beef but it looks so so so good. Hopefully it will come out as creamy with chicken!

    • Stefanie
      January 28, 2013 at 9:37 pm

      Let me know how it turns out! It sounds like a good twist.

  • Stephie @ Eat Your Heart Out
    January 27, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    So, so delicious.