Monday, October 25, 2010

Beef Stew with Barley

The first time I made this, I found myself debating the definition of a "stew." For me, a stew just has more beef and more veggies in a slow cooker. Chris begged to differ, stating that a stew is determined by its consistency, and that my culinary creation was not thick enough to be a true "stew."
Oh, boy, no, you didn't. Oh no, you did not just diss my cooking. Nuh-uh..
In the end, someone came to another and said, "I was wrong, you were right." Guess who it was.
To give you a hint, I did a little victory dance, because I hardly ever hear those words. Oh sweet, sweet victory . . .
So yes, this is a stew: it's loaded with yummy beef, delicious veggies, and it IS thick, thanks to the barely. Oh, and Chris loves it . . . because it's awesome.

  •  large zip-top bag
  • 2 1/2 lb boneless beef chuck roast (or beef pre-cut for stew)
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4–5 petite red potatoes (rinsed)
  • 1 large onion (rinsed)
  • 8 ounces fresh cut carrots
  • 1 (32-ounce) box reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup quick-cooking pearled barley
  • Note: The originally recipe called for celery, but, because Chris and I aren't big celery fans, we used peas instead and it's still delish! . . . are you sensing a theme that I don't like to follow original recipes? ;]
  • Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. 
  • Cut beef into 3-inch chunks and place in large zip-top bag, beef, flour, and pepper (wash hands); seal tightly and shake to coat. 
  • Place oil in pan; swirl to coat. Place beef in pan (wash hands); cook 2–3 minutes on each side or until browned.
  • While roast browns, cut potatoes into quarters. Remove ends and peel from onion; cut onion into quarters. 
  • Place roast in slow cooker. 
  • Add remaining ingredients (except barley); cook 4–6 hours on HIGH or 8 hours on LOW.
  • About one hour before serving, stir in barley. Do not replace lid. Cook uncovered 1 hour or until barley and beef are both tender. 

Side note: When I first made this, I bought a large chuck roast, and it just about killed me to cut that sucker into chunks.  The original recipe says it takes 15 minutes to prepare, but it took me double or triple that. Maybe I have a beef-cutting handicap I wasn't aware of, but this time, I bought beef that was already cut into chunks with stew-making in mind (Publix Grocery, I love you!). Such a time saver!


  1. Looks great! Hey about the cutting-meat-problem, it's all about your knife. What kind of knife do you use? You'll want to get an 8" chef's knife and try to sharpen it often. I got one at Ross for $8.99 last Christmas and it's still going strong!

  2. I'll definitely keep that in mind! Thanks so much! :]

  3. That looks great! I actually rarely cook beef, simply because I dont know how to buy it. I know the cuts are different and I am afraid to DEATH of buying one loaded with fat. Eww.

  4. loved catching up on your blog....don't read blogs hardly ever anymore so I'm gonna become a "follower" and then I should get them in my email. love you tons. keep writing, girlie :-)

  5. Sarah,

    Next time you can go ahead and buy the whole roast and ask them to cut it up for you in the meat department. They will at Publix for no charge and you will pay less than the stew meat that is already cut up and packaged.

    Dianna Mason


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