Super Easy Sunday Afternoon Beef & Barley Stew

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!


  1. Heat the oil in a large stew pot or Dutch oven.
  2. 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.
  3. Add the beef broth, water, bay leaf, parsley, salt, pepper, and thyme.
  4. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer.
  5. Partially cover and let stew simmer for 1.5 hours. Go take a nap or read a book. :)
  6. Skim fat off top of stew, then add tomatoes (with liquid) and mirepoix. Simmer 20 more minutes.
  7. Add the barley and simmer 15-20 more minutes, until barley has softened and expanded.
  8. 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.

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