Vegetable, Beef, and Barley Stew

Prep Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs 20 mins

Start simmering this robust fall stew in the morning, and its irresistible flavors will greet you at dinner time. Some slow cookers have a stovetop-safe insert, so you can do all the cooking in one pot. If yours does not, use a skillet and then transfer the ingredients to the slow cooker.


  • 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

  • ½ pound small potatoes, halved

  • ½ medium butternut squash (1 pound), peeled and diced medium (2 cups)

  • ½ 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.

    Andrew Purcell

Cook's Notes

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

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