Sunday, October 4, 2015

Perfect Crockpot Beef and Barley Stew

The temperatures here in Northern West Virginia have really begun to drop recently, the leaves on the trees are turning, and autumn is DEFINITELY in the air.  For me these temperatures awaken the need for heavier, heartier meals, and I can't think of anything more perfect to kick this season off with than a Perfect Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Stew.  

The beef and barley stew, in a bowl, with the title above it on a black background.

Big meaty portions of tender beef, delicious vegetables, savory beef broth, my mouth is literally watering just thinking about it.  The thing that I adore most about this recipe is that you can prepare it the night before and let it cook in the crock-pot all day long.  I know you are going to love the recipe so...

Let's Get Started!

Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Stew:
*Prep Time: 20 min.  *Cook Time: 6-8 hours  *Difficulty:  Easy  *Servings: 6-8


The ingredients needed to make the beef and barley stew.

  • 3 lb. Chuck Roast
  • 2-3 tbsp.  Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4-5 Yukon Gold Potatoes, cubed
  • 3 Carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3 Stalks of Celery, sliced
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 4-6 Cloves of Garlic, crushed
  • 1 15 oz. Can of Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 can of Guinness Beer (Or 2 c. of Low Sodium Beef Broth)
  • 6 c. Low Sodium Beef Broth
  • 1 c. Quick Barley
  • 1 bag of Frozen Peas
  • 1 tbsp. of Whole Grain Dijon Mustard (or regular) 
  • 1 tbsp. of Dried Thyme
  • 2-3 Bay Leaves
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

A chuck roast, on a cutting board, cut into cubes.

To begin you will want to get a beautiful chuck roast and cut it into bite-sized cubes.    

Yes, I realize you can buy pre-cut stew meat, but often times it's actually just the "unsavory" trimmings that are leftover from other cuts.  
By cutting down your own chuck roast, you can choose exactly the kind of beef you want, with all the good stuff in it.  

A skillet on the stove with oil in it.

Next, place a skillet over medium/high, and add the olive oil.
Allow the pan and oil to get HOT!

The chuck roast being seasoned with salt.

While you are waiting for the pan to get hot, you can season your beef.

Simply add enough salt and ...

The cubed chuck roast, on a cutting board, being seasoned with pepper.

Pepper to coat all of the meat.

The cubed and seasoned beef, in the skillet, browning.

Now, in batches, brown the meat in the skillet on all sides.
This takes about 2-3 minutes per side.

I know what you are thinking.  "Is this step really necessary?"  The answer to that question is and always will be YES!   Sure you can just throw the raw meat into the slow cooker, but trust me when I say that by browning it you are exponentially boosting the flavor of your stew!

The browned beef being added to the slow cooker.

Once the meat has been browned on all sides, you can add it to the slow cooker.

The skillet on the stove with the mustard being added to it.

Now back to the skillet.
You see all of those luscious little brown bits in the pan?  THAT is a WHOLE LOT of flavor!
To makes sure we don 't leave any of that behind we are going to create a little pan sauce.

Bump the heat up to high and add the whole grain Dijon mustard to the pan.

Guinness beer being added to the skillet with the mustard.

Now pour in the Guinness.

Two things before we go any further. One, you don't have to use Guinness.  It is my cooking beer of choice, but whatever you have will work just fine.  Two, if you would rather not use alcohol in your stew, simple pour 2 cups of beef broth into the pan.

Dried thyme being added to the skillet with the beer and mustard.

Once you have added the Guinness to the pan you can add the dried thyme and...

The sauce in the pan getting whisked.

Use your whisk to pick up all of the brown bits on the bottom.
Let the liquid reduce for a couple minutes.

The pan sauce being added to the slow cooker.

Now you can add the flavor packed sauce to the slow cooker.

The vegetables, garlic, and bay leaf being added to the slow cooker.

Now add the potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, diced tomatoes, garlic, and bay leaf to the slow cooker.

Beef stock being added to the slow cooker.

Pour in the beef broth.
Season with a little salt and pepper (I started with a tsp. of each) and give everything a little stir.

The lid on the slow cooker.

Cover the slow cooker and turn on high for 4 hours.
After for hours, reduce the heat to low.
If you are unable to do this, you can leave it on high, but I would add 2 extra cups of beef broth.

The beef and barley stew after cooking for 4 hours.

After 6 hours of cooking your stew should look like this!
I can't even BEGIN to tell you  what this smells like!

At this point I like to taste for seasoning.
I needed to add a little more salt, so I did.  :)

Barley being added to the slow cooker.

For the last 30 minutes of cooking, add the quick cooking barley and...

Frozen peas being added to the slow cooker.

The bag of peas.

the beef and barley stew finished in the slow cooker.

After the last 30 minutes your stew is ready to eat!

The finished beef and barley stew, in a while bowl, with a spoon to the right of it.

Oh. My. Goodness!  Would you look at that!  Can't you just imagine yourself, sitting on your porch, wrapped in a fuzzy blanket,  on a cool autumn evening, with this in your lap?  HEAVEN!

A close-up of the beef and barley stew in the bowl.

The beef is beautifully caramelized and tender, the vegetables are so hearty and soothing, that warm and savory broth, and the delicious al dente barley.  This really is the PERFECT meal for this time of year!

A spoonful of the beef and barley stew.

I'm sorry, I am just going to have to take a bite right now!


I know you are going to LOVE this Perfect Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Stew so get in the kitchen and give it a try TONIGHT!

And as always....

Happy Reading, Happy Eating, and Happy Living,
~The Kitchen Wife~


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