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Rich and Hearty Beef Barley Vegetable Stew

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Tired, sore, and frozen after putting up all those holiday lights and displays? This Rich and Hearty Beef Barley Vegetable Stew is ready and waiting to warm you right up! Loaded to the brim with melt-in-your-mouth tender chunks of beef, nutty and nutritious barley, and tender vegetables all bathing in a rich and thick, gravy-like broth, this bowl of comforting stew is just what your heart and soul needs to warm frozen toes and “Rudolph Red” noses!


When those icy, cuts-you-to-the-bone, north winds start to blow, you know what time of year it is. It’s SOUP time! OH, yeah! 

Decorating for the holidays is no easy task! It really wears you out! So, there’s just nothing better than a big ole pot of piping hot soup, stew, or chili awaiting you on the stovetop!

And guess what? This is all made in ONE pan! (Well, a pot actually.) So, cleanup truly is a breeze! 

The best cut of meat for this is the ever trustworthy chuck roast. It’s a relatively inexpensive cut of meat that gets fall-apart tender the longer you cook it. And low and slow is just what makes this pot perfect! 



Since it’s just me and my hubby, I only used one 2 lb. boneless chuck roast. It still makes plenty enough to last a few days, but if you have a big family, or a couple of starving teenagers, you may want to cook two and just double the recipe. Of course, though….you’re gonna need a bigger pot! 

This recipe makes about one bowl shy of 6 quarts! But don’t worry, believe me when I say, it will ALL get eaten no problem! 



I like to cut the beef into large chunks, bigger than bite-sized, as beef shrinks as it cooks. You simply add the chunks to your 6 quart pot into a little hot oil and butter and brown all sides of the pieces. 



Then add your broth, herbs, and spices and simmer the beef for 1 1/2 hours. Then add your fresh veggies and barley, and let it simmer again for another 1 1/2 hours. (*I used pearl barley, so there’s no prep to it.) 



If adding any canned veggies, add those afterwards, otherwise they’ll cook down to nothing! I added my canned green beans after the second simmer, then added a little more salt and seasonings to taste, and thickened the stew with a simple slurry.




And that’s IT. There really is nothing to it. No mystery of how it comes out so magically rich, thick and hearty. Just a classic stew that you’ll enjoy for many years to come. 



This time, (I make this A LOT), I added potatoes, celery, baby carrots, onion, hand-crushed stewed tomatoes, and green beans. But the veggies are up to you. Other vegetables suitable for this stew are peas, lima beans, zucchini, parsnips, turnips, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, or just about any other vegetable that makes you happy!

So you do you and add what you and your family prefers. (*Zucchini doesn’t take long to get tender, and mushrooms are best sautéed in a separate frying pan in butter, then added last as you would canned vegetables.) 

Just remember that fresh veggies need to cook, but canned just need to be warmed through at the very end. Also remember to drain any canned vegetables so that you don’t turn the stew into a soup! 



My hubby and I enjoyed bowl after bowl of this Rich and Hearty Beef Barley Vegetable Stew as it’s one of our favorites this time of year. And I’m sure it will be one of your family’s favorites, too! 

Now, get those pots out and make the memories happen! Enjoy all! And happy holidays! 


Rich and Hearty Beef Barley Vegetable Stew
Yield: 6 quarts

Rich and Hearty Beef Barley Vegetable Stew

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes

Rich, thick and hearty, and LOADED with chunks of tender beef, nutty barley, and veggies galore, this stew is perfect to warm you up from heart to soul!


  • 2 lbs. boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 - 2" cubes salted and peppered as preferred
  • 2 Tbl. vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 Tbl. butter
  • 1 (32 oz.) box beef broth or stock
  • 1 Tbl. Better Than Bouillon Roasted Beef Base dissolved into 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 medium dried bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. each: dried oregano, garlic powder, dried thyme, onion powder, and black pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped large
  • 2 large ribs celery, thickly sliced
  • 2 cups sliced baby carrots, measure after slicing
  • 2 large russet baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
  • 3/4 cup uncooked pearl barley
  • 2 Tbl. dried parsley
  • 2 (14 1/2 oz. each) cans stewed tomatoes plus the juice, crush tomatoes with hand as you add them to the pot
  • 2 Tbl. Better Than Bouillon Roast Beef Base dissolved in 4 cups boiling water (in addition to the above 2 cups)
  • 1 (15 oz.) can green beans, drained
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce plus more salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 1 - 2 Tbl. butter, to taste


  1. In 6 quart, or larger, heavy-bottomed stock pot, add oil and butter and melt over medium-high heat until very hot. Add chunks of beef and stir now and then to brown on all sides. Add beef broth, bouillon dissolved in 2 cups water, bay leaves, oregano, garlic powder, thyme, onion powder, and pepper.
  2. Bring to a boil, cover with a tight-fitting lid, lower heat to a simmer, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, until beef is tender.
  3. Then add onion, celery, carrots, potatoes, barley, parsley, stewed tomatoes with the juice (hand crush them a little as you add them), and second amount of beef bouillon base dissolved in boiling water. (*I do the bouillon and water in the microwave in a glass measuring pitcher.)
  4. Bring back to a boil, cover again with a lid, lower heat to a simmer, and simmer for another 1 1/2 hours or until meat is fall-apart tender and veggies are done through and soft.
  5. Add drained green beans, 1 tsp. soy sauce, and more salt and pepper to taste.
  6. In small drinking glass, add cornstarch and cold water. Stir very well to mix scraping the bottom to incorporate all. Bring pot to a low boil and pour in cornstarch slurry. Gently stir in and simmer, still gently stirring, 1 - 2 minutes. Stew will thicken immediately. Gently fold in 1 - 2 Tbl. butter. Taste, and add more salt and pepper if needed. Remove from heat, place on lid, tilted to let out steam, and let rest for at least 15 minutes.
  7. Gently stir, as to not break up veggies, and ladle into serving bowls. Serve with crusty bread for sopping up every last drop of that wonderful "gravy"! Enjoy!




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