Beef, Barley & Mushroom Stew

Serves 4

Pearl barley, the most common form of barley, has had the husk removed, then been hulled and polished so that only the ‘pearl’ of the original grain remains, much the same as white rice.


  • 1kg beef chuck steak, diced into 3cm (1in) pieces
  • 35g plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 20g butter
  • 2 medium brown onions (300g), chopped finely
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 medium carrot (120g), chopped finely
  • 1 trimmed celery stalk (100g), chopped finely
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 100g pearl barley
  • 500ml beef stock
  • 125ml dry white wine
  • 500ml water
  • 200g Swiss brown mushrooms, quartered
  • 200g button mushrooms, quartered


  1. Preheat oven to moderately low.
  2. Coat beef in flour shake off excess. Heat oil in large flameproof casserole dish cook beef, in batches, until browned all over.
  3. Melt butter in same dish cook onion, garlic, carrot, celery and herbs, stirring, until vegetables soften. Add barley, stock, wine and the water bring to a boil. Return beef to dish, cover cook in moderately low oven 1½ hours.
  4. Stir in mushrooms cook, uncovered, in moderately low oven for about 30 minutes or until beef and mushrooms are tender.
  5. Serve stew with mash, sprinkled with fresh thyme, if desired.