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Chef John's Beef and Barley Stew

Rated as 4.88 out of 5 Stars

"This beautiful bowl of beef and barley would be perfect for your next super-storm. When it comes to stick-to-your-ribs stews, it doesn't get any better than shank. There's so much gelatin-producing connective tissue, that it makes an especially satisfying sauce for your meat and grain."
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3 h 45 m servings 339
Original recipe yields 4 servings


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  1. Season beef all over with kosher salt and black pepper.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in a large pot over high heat. Cook beef in hot oil until browned on both sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer beef to a plate.
  3. Reduce heat to medium, and stir onion into the same pot with a pinch of salt. Cook and stir until onion is soft and translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir garlic into onion; cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Stir tomato paste into onion mixture; cook and stir until tomato paste is brick red, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour broth into onion mixture. Add celery, carrots, bay leaf, and rosemary. Return beef with any accumulated juices to pot; push beef down to cover with cooking liquid.
  5. Bring broth mixture to a simmer, reduce heat to low, cover the pot, and cook until beef is fork-tender, 2 to 3 hours. Transfer beef to a bowl.
  6. Pour barley into cooking liquid, bring to a simmer, and cook until barley is tender, about 45 minutes. Return beef to pot, cover the pot, and cook until heated through, about 10 minutes. Season with salt. Ladle stew into bowls and garnish with parsley and horseradish.


  • Partner Tip
  • Reynolds® Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 339 calories; 14.3 27 25.4 57 1200 Full nutrition

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Read all reviews 106
  1. 125 Ratings

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Most helpful positive review

I doubled the recipe and glad I did. Very good and even better the next day! I did deviate on the pearl barley I had. In a separate pan, I covered the barley with a couple inches of water, bough...

Most helpful critical review

Made as is and it was ok. Thought the flavour was a little bland.

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Most positive
Least positive

I doubled the recipe and glad I did. Very good and even better the next day! I did deviate on the pearl barley I had. In a separate pan, I covered the barley with a couple inches of water, bough...

I had to cheat and make this in the slow cooker because I was rushed. I browned the meat and added all the other ingredients, except the barley, and cooked on low for 4 hours. When I got home I...

Cooked this a couple days after Chef John posted the recipe, and it was my favorite beef barley soup ever. I did add an extra couple cups of stock to make it more soupy than stew, but otherwise...

I followed the instructions pretty much spot-on this first time (I was able to get some great beef shank at the local butcher). The only thing I changed is I cooked the stew (prior to adding th...

Followed the recipe with two exceptions. I used cut up beef chuck instead of the shank. One problem I had was that I used salted broth in the recipe. This made the 'soup' quite salty. I woul...

great comfort food! I made it to the recipe, tho' I did add a step to rinse my barley...... the hubby was very happy! The one thing that I suggest is to have all of the prep done (ve...

What a wonderful pot of soup/stew for the cold days in the Midwest. Delightful to make, my husband said what smells so good while it was cooking. Very tasty but be prepared to cook this for some...

Our compliments to Chef John! I doubled the broth amount and made soup instead. I also used thyme instead of rosemary since that was all I had in hand. Caution in adding salt as a little goes a ...

I made this on a Sunday afternoon. I had never cooked beef shank before, but when the butcher mentioned the bone marrow, I knew I was in store for something special. It takes a while , but it ...