Sunday afternoons are lazy times for me and Robby. I’m always looking for simple things to make for dinner on Sunday nights, so that I can enjoy the end of the weekend. I came across a beef and barley stew recipe online, and thought I would share my “improved” version. If you use pre-chopped ingredients, there’s almost no work involved at all! I actually have a pot of this stew simmering on my stove right now.
Beef & Barley Stew
Serves: 6 large portions, 8 small
Total time, including prep: 2-2.5 hours
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 lb. stew beef, cut into chunks (my grocery store sells it pre-cut)
- 3 cups beef broth
- 3 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 Tbsp. dried parsley
- 1 Tbsp. kosher salt (or 1/2 Tbsp. table salt)
- 1/2 Tbsp. ground pepper
- 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1 container (approx. 14 oz.) mirepoix*
- 3/4 c. pearl barley (rinse it in a strainer first to clean off any dirt)
* “Mirepoix” is a fancy French name for a mixture of finely-chopped onions, celery, and carrots. You can probably find it in the pre-chopped produce section at the grocery store. Alternatively, you can chop one large onion, 2 large carrots, and 2 large celery stalks, but that’s a lot more work!
- Heat the oil in a large stew pot or Dutch oven.
- Brown the beef on all sides, for approximately 5 minutes. You don’t need to cook it all the way through, as it will cook while the stew simmers.
- Add the beef broth, water, bay leaf, parsley, salt, pepper, and thyme.
- Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer.
- Partially cover and let stew simmer for 1.5 hours. Go take a nap or read a book.
- Skim fat off top of stew, then add tomatoes (with liquid) and mirepoix. Simmer 20 more minutes.
- Add the barley and simmer 15-20 more minutes, until barley has softened and expanded.
- Remove bay leaf and serve stew with warm French bread.
A few notes:
- This tastes even better re-heated for lunch the next day.
- Don’t stress too much about the measurements. I don’t even bother with measuring spoons for the spices, and just eyeball it instead. Makes things even easier!
- Your house will smell really good while the stew simmers, which means your husband might ask you repeatedly whether dinner will be ready soon.
- Target has the best French bread I’ve ever tasted, plus it’s super cheap! Look for the demi-baked loaf, and pop it in the oven for 5-10 minutes before serving. Mmmmmm.