Beef & Barley Stew Recipe

This is my tried-and-true beef and barley stew recipe. Potatoes may be substituted for the barley. The barley thickens up the stew a little bit, but if you prefer your stew thicker, make a little slurry of 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 1/2 cup water and drizzle into simmering stew at the end until the desired consistency is reached. 

Rachel Divider



1 lb (or more) of 2 stew beef, cut into 1” cubes, patted dry 
½ cup flour 
1 tsp garlic powder, 
some salt & pepper
1 onion, chopped 
1 garlic clove, chopped 
3 carrots, peeled & sliced into coins 
3 celery stalks, sliced 
¾ cup cabbage or brussel sprouts, finely shredded 
Approximately 6 cups water or beef stock 
1 small can V-8 juice or tomato juice (optional) 
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon of GravyMaster (optional for color) 
¼ cup Sherry (not cooking Sherry, drinking Sherry) 
¼ cup Marsala wine (not cooking wine, drinking wine) 
Some fresh or dried rosemary leaves wrapped in cheesecloth or a tea infuser. 
½ cup pearl barley, rinsed, OR 2 medium potatoes 


Place flour into a gallon sized zip-top bag with garlic powder, salt and pepper & shake to mix. Drop pieces of DRY, cubed beef into the flour and shake to cover all sides. With hand in bag, pick up a handful of meat and shake off excess flour.  Set aside dredged beef

In a heavy-bottomed stew pot, add some olive oil to coat bottom of pan and heat to medium-high. Drop dredged beef into pan and brown on all sides. Adjust heat if necessary to avoid smoking and burning of flour. Don’t over-crowd the pan or stack the beef cubes on top of each other. Brown in batches if necessary. Add more oil if needed. When browned, remove beef from pot & set aside. Reduce heat to medium. 

Add a drizzle of olive oil & onions to pot and cook until softened. Return meat to pan. 

Add enough water or beef stock (or both) to cover the meat. (Essentially use as much liquid as the amount of stew you’d like to make). Adjust salt and pepper seasonings to taste. Tie bag of cheesecloth or tea infuser w/ rosemary in it to edge of pan for ease of retrieval before serving. 

Add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT FOR THE POTATOES or BARLEY 

Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to low for several hours (the longer the better, but a minimum of one hour).

IF using BARLEY:  in the last 40 minutes before serving, turn up heat to medium and add the rinsed barley, stirring occasionally.

IF USING POTATOES: in the last 15 minutes before serving, turn up the heat to medium and add the potatoes.

Rachel Divider

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2021 years ago

Yum, yum, yum. Made this stew for my family before Thanksgiving. It came out soooo good. I made a huge pot of it so I could put some in the freezer. Absolutely delicious! And nutritious.

2021 years ago

I love barley. Your recipe sounds wonderful, but I never have sherry around or Marsala.

2021 years ago

This recipe sounds great – I love beef and barley! I would think this would simmer happily on our little wood stove. Thanks for the recipe!

Chubby Mealworm
Chubby Mealworm
2021 years ago

Your beef stew is both delicious & healthy food. Barley is good for the stomach, veggies are just plain good for you, & added beef makes it a full dinner for the family! Healthy & nutritious! (If you don’t like stew, just drink the wine! ) LOL