Growing Home Again

Beef and Barley Stew

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Fall and winter are the time for stew and soup cooked low and slow. The last of the fresh vegetables grown above and the first of those grown below and newly harvested meat
Yesterday was the day for Beef and Barley Stew. It’s one of my family’s favorites. When my oldest son arrived home from school yesterday he said he wanted to eat the house – it smelled sooooo good! He’s only 5 and I’m happy to say, he already has a good taste in food.

Beef and Barley Stew


  • Knob of butter
  • 3 pounds stew meat or ground beef.
  • 3 cups chopped onions
  • 1 pound mushrooms – cut to roughly the same size as the stew meat.
  • 2-quart beef or chicken broth. May be reduced to 1-quart broth and 1-quart water for homemade broth
  • 2 teaspoons fresh marjoram or savory
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1 cup roughly chopped carrot
  • 3 cups potato or celery root cut to the same size as the mushrooms and stew meat
  • Salt and Pepper as desired
  • Sour Cream
  • Fresh dill

Begin by chopping all ingredients – it makes life so much easier! Warm a large dutch oven or soup pot to high and sear batches of beef in small batches. You wanted some blackened edges. Set aside once complete. In the same pot add the onion and sabeef-barley-stew-ingredientsuté quickly. Sautéing is what gives the onion and the soup flavor, otherwise, you just have boiled onions! Who wants that? Remove the onions and repeat the same process with the potatoes and carrots. After you have removed the potatoes/celery root and carrots (they won’t be done yet!) add about 1 cup of liquid to the pot to get the burned bits off the bottom. Burned bits = flavor. Add the meat, marjoram or savory, onions, potatoes/celery root, carrots and mushrooms back into the pot. Add the remaining liquid and reduce to LOW heat. Stirring occasionally, let simmer for about an hour. Add the barley and keep at a low simmer for another hour – stirring occasionally. Salt and pepper the stew as desired.

To serve, ladle out stew into separate bowls and top with sour cream and plenty of fresh dill. The dill and the sour cream make the dish! Don’t be stingy!



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