Beef & Barley Stew

Tell me, is there really anything better than a piping hot bowl of stew on a cold day? I think there is not. And this Beef & Barley Stew the perfect, hearty, healthy meal to get you through a long winter.

Flavorful beef stew meat and veggies are slowly simmered in beef broth and Guinness until fall apart tender accompanied with slightly nutty and hearty barley. While this recipe does require some time on the stove, it is pretty simple to throw together and makes a big enough batch to be enjoyed all week. Also, this stew is FANTASTIC on the second and third day and can be frozen and reheated whenever you fancy. Give it a go and let me know what you think. Enjoy!

Beef & Barley Stew

Flavorful beef stew meat and veggies are slowly simmered in beef broth and Guinness until fall apart tender accompanied with slightly nutty barley. A perfect hearty and healthy meal for a cold day!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, British
Servings 8 servings


  • Large Dutch Oven or other large, heavy pot with lid


  • 2 lb beef stew meat, cubed
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter, divided
  • 4 medium carrots, halved and sliced to about 1/2 inch thickness
  • 4 stalks celery, halved and sliced to about 1/2 inch thickness
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped (or 1/2 tsp dried rosemary)
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 15 oz can of Guinness or other stout beer (you can replace this with 2 extra cups of beef broth is desired, but the Guinness really gives it a nice depth of flavor)
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup pearled barley
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • additional salt & pepper to taste
  • additional Worcestershire sauce to taste
  • fresh thyme leaves (optional) for garnish


  • Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter in a large dutch oven or other heavy bottom pot with lid over medium high heat until hot.
  • Generously season both sides of the beef stew meat with salt & pepper. In batches, so as not to overcrowd the beef, sear one side of the meat undisturbed for 1-2 minutes until browned. Flip meat to the other side and sear for an additional 1-2 minutes until browned. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the seared beef (it will not be cooked through at this time) to a plate and set aside.
  • Repeat the process until all of the stew meat has been browned. This will probably take about 2-3 batches. Set aside.
  • Melt the remaining 1 tbsp of butter in the pan with the beef drippings and add in onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Sautee over medium high heat for about 5 minutes until softened.
  • Add in thyme, rosemary and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute over medium high heat.
  • Stream in the can of Guinness to deglaze the pan. Then pour in 6 cups of beef broth, stirring continuously.
  • Add in 3 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce and a bay leaf and bring to a boil.
  • Turn heat down to low then cover and let simmer on low for about 1 – 1.5 hours.
  • After 1 to 1.5 hours of cooking, add in 1 cup of pearled barley. Continue cooking on low for another hour or so until the barley is cooked through and the beef is tender.
  • Remove from heat and taste to see if the stew needs any additional seasoning. Add any salt, pepper or Worcestershire sauce to preference.
  • If desired, garnish with thyme leaves and enjoy!
Keyword Beef, Fall, Stew, Winter

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