Perfectly Tender Beef Barley Stew

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Homemade Beef Stew

It’s cold.

Cold, is almost an understatement. Bone-chilling might a better way to describe our current climate condition. I thought we were in the middle of a massive global warming? Well, not in Florida, at least not this week.

Cold weather has a way of making people, I’m going to include you all in this (it makes me feel better), want to do crazy things. Have you ever watched the videos of the half-naked Russian ice-water divers? Point proven. I may not be ice diving, but cold weather always drives me to impulsive actions. Such as the thought to spend all day dirtying my kitchen. Almost as daring as ice diving.

But, who has time for dirtying every dish when there are far more important things in life. One of them, curling up on the couch with a big blanket. But somehow, my body, even under the warm coziness of a big checkered blanket, yearns to get back in the kitchen, for dirty dishes stacked high in the air, and the goodness produced from a hard-working stove. Warm crusty bread, a perfectly seasoned stew, and a big mug of hot chocolate. The yearning overtakes.

Homemade Beef Stew

This soup was born from that crazy cold impulsiveness and the desire spend the day cooking up madness in my kitchen. But, madness often breeds delicious perfection.

This soup requires very little time and only one stockpot. The warm oven does most of the work, leaving time to whip up that delicious mug of hot chocolate, spread a big smear of pastured butter on fresh-baked bread,  accomplish the dishes, and still have time to curl up with that big ol’ blanket.

Homemade Beef Stew

A couple hours later, a perfect bowl of beef and barley stew is waiting to be spooned into my favorite antique, white bowls and enjoyed with more crusty bread. And, of course, lots more butter.  The meat perfectly moist and tender, the nourishment of homemade beef broth, the flavor of fresh veggies and herbs.

Homemade Beef Stew

Have I told you how much I love cold days and the crazy yumminess which result?

Homemade Beef Stew
5 from 3 votes

Perfectly-Tender Beef Barley Stew

This soup was born from that crazy cold impulsiveness and the desire spend the day cooking up madness in my kitchen. But, madness often breeds delicious perfection.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Stew
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 400 kcal
Author Kristin Marr


  • 2 lb grass-fed chuck roast cubed or stew meat
  • 2 TB butter
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 2 celery ribs chopped
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 2 large red potatoes chopped
  • 7 cups beef broth
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 4 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup pearled barley
  • 1 tsp salt to taste
  • 1 tsp black pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 250F.
  2. Season the cubed chuck roast pieces with salt and pepper. Allow to sit and tenderize while melting the butter and cooking the veggies.
  3. In a large soup pot (this is my favorite), melt the butter over medium to high heat. Add in the chopped veggies (carrots, celery, and onion). Sauté the veggies until the onions are translucent (5-7 minutes). Add in the potatoes and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the veggies from the pot. Set to the side.
  4. In the same pot, add the cubed roast. Brown the outside of the meat (4-5 minutes). Remove the meat from the pot and set to the side with the veggies.
  5. Add 1 cup of broth to the stock pot, still on medium to high heat, scrape the bottom of the pot loosening any little pieces.
  6. Add the meat and veggies back to the pot, remaining broth, barley, bay leaf, and rosemary and thyme sprigs. Make sure the rosemary and thyme are immersed in the broth. Bring to a boil. Once at a boil, turn off the heat and transfer the pot to the oven, covered.
  7. The stew will cook in the oven for 2 hours at 250F.
  8. Remove from the oven. Remove the stems from the rosemary and thyme.
  9. Serve warm.

Homemade Beef Stew

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  1. says: Nicki Bateman

    I am about to make this, and realized that I am not sure whether the oven temp is correct: it says to preheat to 350, but then cook at 250F for two hours. Is that correct? Or should it be 350F for two hours?

  2. says: Shelby McGalliard

    5 stars
    Kristin…..Oh My Gosh…… I made this for supper tonight. It tasted AMAZING!!! My family enjoyed it so much. Even my super picky 3 year old loved it! This recipe is most definitely a keeper in my household. Thank you so much fro sharing this recipe.

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      Hey Gaby, I would probably cook the recipe on low, for about 6-8 hours. Then, add the barley during the last hour or two. You could probably even cook the barley ahead of time and add to the stew. Enjoy!

  3. says: Emily

    5 stars
    This was delicious! I love actually looking forward to leftovers. And your favorite soup pot is mine too- I use it for everything!

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      Hey Nadia, I think quinoa would be a great substitute. Barley is a slower cooking grain, so I recommend adding the quinoa during the last 15-20 minutes of cooking. Enjoy!

  4. says: Nadia

    5 stars
    Thank you Kristin! Turned out perfectly delicious. Just the meat wasn’t tender because of the different type of cattle here in Austria, Guess I need to fetch a filet next time instead of a stew beef.

    1. says: Kristin Marr

      Hey Donnisha, I’m not really sure. The meat is very tough (just the nature of the cut), so it really needs to be cooked over a slow heat for a long time. You may be able to turn the heat on the stove-top to low, but I’m not sure if there will be a time difference, or how the meat will turn out.

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