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Beef, Barley, and Vegetable Stew

Some slow cookers have a stovetop-safe insert, so you can do all the cooking in one pot. If yours doesn’t, use a skillet and then transfer the ingredients to the slow cooker.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6
Beef, Barley, and Vegetable Stew

Photography: Andrew Purcell

Source: Everyday Food, October 2013


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 1 pound beef chuck, cut into 3 pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 4 cups chicken or beef broth, divided
  • 1/2 pound small potatoes, halved
  • 1/2 medium butternut squash (1 pound), peeled and diced medium (2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley


  1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Season beef with salt and cook until pieces are browned on all sides, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a 5-to-6-quart slow cooker.

  2. To the skillet, add remaining tablespoon oil, the garlic, and thyme and saute until fragrant, 1 minute. Add 2 cups broth and cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon. Transfer mixture to slow cooker.

  3. Add potatoes, squash, barley, 2 cups water, and remaining 2 cups broth to slow cooker, cover, and cook on high until meat is very tender, 4 hours (or 8 hours on low). Using two forks, shred beef. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook's Note

Cold Comfort
Freeze leftovers as individual servings for quick lunches or dinners later.

Reviews (6)

  • ginaz111 2 Jan, 2014

    I think the flavor was pretty good, but it is more of a soup than a stew. I added an onion, think I would add more veggies if I make it again. I think either less liquid or more barley to absorb some of the liquid. I didn't have quite enough broth so I added some white wine, I think it was a nice addition. I would also like more meat in it.

  • Bkmom 27 Oct, 2013

    My family loved it and ask for it instead of traditional beef stew. Go figure. It is really starchy...

  • Susie14 22 Oct, 2013

    I did not care for the taste at all. However, my husband had two bowls. Tasted like I was eating fat. Removed a lot of the fat before cooking. Strange taste.

  • Raleigh 16 Oct, 2013

    This really should be called Beef and Starch Stew. It isn't very flavorful and is great need of some non-strachy vegetables. I love most MS recipes, but this one needs work.

  • elissapr 10 Oct, 2013

    Easy to make and delicious!

  • terrileehumphrey 10 Oct, 2013

    very good, everyone in family liked it!

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