Hearty Beef and Barley Stew with Root Vegetables

Hello All! Once again it has been a terribly busy few weeks and I haven't really been able to get on to share yummy tidbits with you. Because I am hurtling toward the finish of this semester and don't have much time to post an entire post, I'm going to entice you with a few pictures of the next recipe. (Recipe and more pictures will come soon-ish. Now, I have a little bit of a breather from school, so I can finally let you in on this little gem of a dish. I have a thing for soup. Yeah, I know it's probably weird, but when you think about it, who wouldn't? Soups are full meals packed into one bowl. They can have protein and carbs. They can be thick or broth-y. They can be made in the winter with root vegetables or chilled in the summer. Come on, they are truly the most versatile, delicious food ever created. Have I sold you yet? If not, check out my recipe for Butternut Squash and Tomato Soup with Pesto Cream.

Anyway, I was on my usual recipe quest when I stumbled upon this recipe from Whole Foods Market. With some slight modifications, I had a hearty and warm soup that was perfect after a long day of... Well, just after a long day.

One thing that really drew me to this stew was all of the yummy vegetables in it. Celery, rutabaga, turnip, carrot, onion, celery root, an onion. If you have difficulty finding the celery root, you can omit it. If you wanted, you could compensate with more carrots/rutabaga/turnip, but it's also fine without it.

Ahhh, turnips. They are mildly sweet and, when cooked, are soft and really tasty. They remind me of a mixture between a carrot and a sweet potato.

Peel and chop the turnip. I chop mine by cutting it in half (so the cross-section looks like a half circle) and then slicing. This way, it doesn't move around too much.

Chop up on large turnip. Place in a large bowl.

Peel and chop the carrot. Because carrots are smaller, I usually don't bother cutting them in half before I slice them, but if you find it easier, that is fine too.

Chop up three large carrots, about 1 cup, 2 stalks of celery, and one medium onion. Place in large bowl.

This gem is a rutabaga. It definitely isn't the most attractive root vegetable, but it has an awesome sweet flavor, kind of like a turnip (or carrot, or sweet potato) and cooks up deliciously. Celery root (which I forgot to photograph), is also super tasty. The standard protocol for cooking with these type of vegetables is to peel or cut away the skin (they come from the ground, so you want to get all of that "goodness" off) and then slice/chop/dice them up.

Chop 1 cup of rutabaga and 1/2 cup of celery root. Place in large bowl with other vegetables.

Slice 1 cup of mushrooms. I always cut the bottom of the stem off first. Then, I place them with the caps facing up and slice as shown below.

Slice 1 cup of mushrooms and place in large bowl. Set aside vegetables.

In a bowl, mix 1/4 cup of flour, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon flour.

To the flour mixture, add 3/4 lb. of lean beef cubes

Toss the beef in the flour, covering all sides.

In a pot, over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Then, add the beef cubes, reserving the flour.

Cook the beef until the sides are browned. It doesn't have to be completely cooked through now because you will be fully cooking it later when it is in the stew.

Remove the beef to a plate. In the same pot that has all that delicious flavor stuck to the bottom, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and all of the vegetables. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add 1/2 cup of barley and cook for 1 minute

Meanwhile, add 1/4 cup of beef broth to the reserved flour mixture and stir until combined. Add this to the pot.

Add the remaining beef broth (about 3 3/4 cups), beef cubes, and one bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about an hour, or until the beef and vegetables are tender and the soup is thickened.

Yummmm... Doesn't that look scrumptious?

Hearty Beef and Barley Stew with Root Vegetables

Adapted from Whole Foods


  • 1/4 cup unbleached white all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 pound lean beef round, cubes
  • 2 large stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 large turnip, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery root (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped carrots (about 3 large)
  • 1 cup chopped, peeled rutabaga
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup pearled barley
  • 4 cups beef broth, divided
  • 1 bay leaf


  1. In a large bowl combine chopped celery, turnip, celery root, onion, carrots, rutabaga, and mushrooms. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine flour, salt, and pepper. Mix. To the mixture, add the cubed beef and mix, making sure to cover all the surfaces of the meat.
  3. In a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat, add two tablespoons of olive oil. To this, add the beef, reserving the remaining flour mixture for later. Cook the beef until all sides are brown and remove to a plate.
  4. To the pot (don't clean it after the beef, you want all the good stuff), add the remaining olive oil and all of the vegetables. Cook vegetables, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes.
  5. Add barley and continue to cook for another minute.
  6. Mix 1/4 cup of beef broth into the remaining flour until completely blended. Add mixture to the pot along with remaining broth, beef cubes, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered until vegetables are softened, beef is tender and soup is thickened, about 1 hour. Remove bay leaf and serve.