Beef, Barley And Mushroom Stew

beef, barley and mushroom stew

Cook boneless short ribs of beef, nutty barley and earthy mushrooms low and slow in a deeply flavored beef, porcini and red wine broth. You will be rewarded with a delicious and satisfying stew that is the perfect example of comfort food to enjoy on a cool night.

I call this beef, barley and mushroom dish a stew but you might think of it more as a soup. The main difference is the amount of liquid that is used…the ingredients in a soup are usually submerged in liquids while the ingredients in stews are just barely covered. That is the preference of the cook as to how you want your dish to be served. This recipe is very adaptable and can be made either way. Additional vegetables can be added and the meat varied. You might want to use a chuck roast that you cut yourself, stew meat from your local market or boneless short ribs which I love for their rich, beefy flavor. I know that the short ribs I used can be a lot more expensive than chuck but whatever meat you end up using will be delicious if cooked properly. Just remember, do not cook the beef too quickly or you can end up with chewy, tough meat. Low and slow will produce the fork tender beef that you desire.

beef, barley and mushroom stew
Comforting Short Rib Of Beef, Barley And Mushroom Stew, Perfect For A Cool Night

Beef, Barley And Mushroom Stew

Serves 4, adjust the recipe according

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees

  • 1 1/2 lb. chuck meat (I use boneless chuck short ribs) cubed into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • flour for dusting the meat
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 c. red wine
  • 2 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 c. mushroom broth (several pieces dried porcini mushrooms soaked in 1 c. boiling water, strained then filtered to remove sediment)
  • 4 c. beef stock (chicken stock or a combination of the two may be substituted)
  • 1 c. water, more or less  (beef broth may be substituted)
  • 1 c. more or less, peeled and cubed carrots
  • 8 – 10 oz. cremini or button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 c. pearled barley
  • 4 c. water
  • chopped parsley (optional) for garnish

Season the beef generously with salt and pepper, dust with flour and shake off the excess. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy ovenproof pot with a lid and brown the meat in batches (do not overcrowd). Remove the meat to a plate. Add the onion and cook until soft. Add the halved carrot and celery and cook about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, herbs and tomato paste, stir well and cook 1 minute. Deglaze the pot with the wine and let reduce by half. Add the broth to the pot then return the meat and any accumulated juices. Add enough water, if necessary, to cover the meat by at least one inch. Cover the pot with a lid and place in the the preheated oven. Check from time to time to make sure that the braising liquid is just at a simmer. Lower the heat, if necessary, so that it doesn’t boil. Cook until the meat is fork tender, approximately 2 hours, depending on the thickness of the meat. Take out of the oven and throw away the carrot, celery, thyme and bay leaves (they have given up all their flavor).

Meanwhile, bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil and add the barley. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, drain, and set aside. In a sauté pan, heat the butter and when hot, add the mushrooms and cook until golden brown and set aside.

When the stew is ready, skim off any accumulated fat, taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary. Add the mushrooms, barley and cubed carrots and cook for another 15 or 20 minutes, until the barley and carrots are tender. Taste one last time for any additional seasoning. Spoon into bowls and garnish with parsley, if desired.  *The meat can also be braised on your stovetop at a low simmer or even prepared in a slow cooker.


This beef stew cooked with nutty tasting barley and earthy mushrooms in a flavorful broth is a delicious and satisfying comfort meal to enjoy on a cool night. I would suggest serving the stew with a simple green salad and some crusty bread that you can use to soak up the last bit of the richly flavored sauce. It is an easy recipe to put together and is something a little different from your usual meat and potato family meal. I do hope you will try it soon.

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44 thoughts on “Beef, Barley And Mushroom Stew

  1. Your photos always make your dishes so appealing. It’s been awhile since I’ve had beef and barley stew but you’ve reminded me how much I enjoy it. Love your version with the big bites of mushroom!

  2. The weather here has been cold and miserable (snow, rain, then a bit of snow later today), so I’m craving a comforting serving of this! I’ve combined beef, barley, and mushrooms before, and their flavors do play well together. It’s been ages since I’ve had that particular combination, though, and you have me SO craving it! This looks great — thanks.

  3. I love barley in stews!!…I like the nutty and earthly flavor that it gives to food…..your stew looks delicious!!….with mushrooms and red wine sounds fantastic!…..Abrazotes, Marcela

  4. I learned something! I wouldn’t have thought to remove the carrot, celery and other items. It makes perfect sense that the flavor is spent, and I like the texture of the stew without the added vegetables. I’m always interested in using more barley, as I think of my grandmother’s beef and barley soup. This really looks so delicious, Karen. And thanks for the technique tip!

  5. Great minds…I just replenished my barley thinking that a beef barley stew is in order; but we’ve had a polar vortex coming through and it’s been incredibly cold with windchills in excess of -15C (5F) so we haven’t been able to entertain outside. This recipe would make a perfect outdoor, rib-sticking meal. Hopefully the polar vortex won’t be here long.

  6. This looks like such a hearty winter dish. I learned a long time ago — don’t eyeball the barley! It explodes and you end up with glop! I’ll be adding this to the rotation, I think. Thanks!

  7. I’ve never cooked with barley before, but I know I would enjoy the ‘nutty flavor.’ I also might add a little chile pepper since I like my food a little spicy. Imagine that- nutty and spicy flavors together!

  8. This! Looks! Amazing! I bet the nuttiness of the barley and the earthy mushrooms give this a nothing but COMFORT!

    Mmmmm…. Mmmmmm… Good!

  9. I think this is the epitome of hearty, comforting and delicious — all at once. Beautiful photos, too! I really love barley and haven’t had it in far too long. Thanks your for the tasty reminder. 🙂 ~Valentina

  10. You can always count of beef stew for warmth and comfort. This is perfect for our cold New England winters.

  11. When it’s cold and snowy like it is here right now, this is the perfect dish to have cooking on the stove. It warms the home with its wonderful smell and then warms the belly with all of its goodness. A lovely bowl of stew Karen!

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